A year of progress
As 2019 draws to a close, we thought we would share with you some of the things that have been achieved amongst the poor of Nicaragua thanks to your generosity.
There have been some encouraging developments in Bluefields this year, including the completion of the road link to the rest of the country and the installation of piped drinking water across the city. Levels of unemployment in Bluefields, however, remain high and so children need to receive a good education to enable them to fulfil their potential and be able to find well-paid jobs.
This year, thanks to our education sponsors, we were able to send 57 children to primary school, 54 young people to secondary school, and 16 students to university. Our students all attend fee-paying Christian schools, where they receive a higher standard of education compared to the free state schools. We were particularly encouraged to see four of our students graduate from secondary school at the end of the year, which was a significant achievement for them. We are especially grateful for the faithful service of Margaret Storey who lives in Bluefields for eight months each year, administering the sponsorship scheme on the ground and providing practical and pastoral support to the children and their families.
Healthcare on Ometepe
During this past year Dr Sandra and our medical team treated 5,684 patients on the island of Ometepe, 40% of whom were children, and prescribed all medicines free of charge.
Patients appreciate the fact that they can afford healthcare at our clinics, particularly as the tourist industry on the island is only slowly recovering from last year’s unrest.
Our team provide pastoral care to their patients, listening to their problems and concerns, and offer to pray with them. They also continue to run a luncheon club for the elderly and a group for expectant mothers in order to meet the social and health needs that they see in their communities.
The health education provided by our nurses was particularly important this year due to a severe outbreak of dengue fever which affected over 130,000 people nationwide. In addition to teaching patients how to avoid contracting dengue fever our team were able to transfer patients that presented symptoms of the disease to the local hospitals where they received appropriate treatment.
Casa Rahab (Rahab’s House) is a Christian day centre in the city of Granada which provides support to girls who sadly have been, or are at risk of being, involved in the sex trade. The vision of Valeria Lopez and her team is to enable these girls to rebuild their lives and find hope for the future within a loving Christian environment.
Around 12 girls at a time attend Casa Rahab, where they receive a customised programme of therapy, educational support, vocational training and life skills. SIFT supports this valuable work by funding the salaries of the centre’s psychologist and craft teacher.
Hogar de Fe Orphanage
The Hogar de Fe (Home of Faith) Orphanage provides up to 50 children and young people with a loving place that they can call home. As the children have come from broken family situations, it is especially important that they receive psychological and emotional care and so a trained child psychologist has regular sessions with the children to help them deal with any issues that they are facing. SIFT is one of a number of organisations that support the ministry of Hogar de Fe.
The team of Christian workers at Hogar de Fe want to prepare the children for life beyond the Orphanage and so they give them the opportunity to learn a variety of life skills through English, computing and music classes and involvement in daily chores. The team are also keen to ensure that the children are aware of God’s love for them and so the children attend the Sunday school at the local church and have daily devotions at the Orphanage.
Over 20 years ago Julita Alemán established a children’s feeding programme on the island of Ometepe, having seen that parents could often struggle to provide their children with all of the nutrients that were needed for their healthy development.
Around 45 children now attend the feeding programme, which is held on Mondays and Fridays at Julita’s house and run by a team of local Christians. Each session begins with fun activities for the children, including singing songs and listening to a Bible story. Following this, the children are given a glass of high-vitamin milk and, on Fridays, a hot meal of soya-fortified rice, chicken and vegetables. The team are also keen to care for the mothers and give them the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus, and so they run a short Bible study for them.
SIFT is pleased to be able to continue providing the funds needed to run the feeding programme, enabling the children of Ometepe to develop both physically and spiritually.
How you can help
We really appreciate everyone who supports us financially, practically and in prayer. Our work in Nicaragua would simply not be possible without you! There are several ways that you can be a part of our work:
- Make a one-off or regular donation towards our work by sending a cheque to the SIFT office or giving online.
- Buy a SIFT Gift for a loved one or yourself this Christmas.
- Sign up to receive our monthly prayer and news letter.
If you would like someone from SIFT to come and speak at your church, or if you would like resources so that you can promote SIFT in your local area, please contact Graham Knight at the SIFT office.
Thank you to everyone who has supported SIFT over the past year. These charts give an overview of how your money has been used to help the poor of Nicaragua. If you would like a full copy of our Annual Report and Accounts, please contact us or download them from our website.
Total income: £132,758
Total expenditure: £148,474
SIFT Sunday 2020
Our next SIFT Sunday is happening on 26th April 2020 and we’d love you to be a part of it! This will be a great opportunity for your church to learn about SIFT, pray for our work and raise much-needed funds. Please save the date in your church calendar and contact Graham Knight at the SIFT office for more information.