Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Shop of My Hope Video

Video of La Tienda Mi Esperanza

Three years ago I sat with a handful of HIV positive Nicaraguans who had one goal - to establish the first official HIV self help group in the Occident Region of Nicaragua. For over a year individuals had been meeting at CISAS (a public health non-governmental organization) to talk through their problems, counsel one another, and collectively protest any abuses at the hospital. Together we planned radio commercials and designed banners to bring awareness that HIV positive individuals were meeting near weekly at CISAS to start a self help group.

The vision and drive originated from three HIV positive individuals who had varying life experiences. The following year I would return for World AIDS Day and see Maria, one of the founders, give a public declaration on her rights as a woman living with HIV. She, along with the president of a German NGO, the German Ambassador and CISAS would sign their vision into reality. The group was official and had its first funding grant to start an office and begin an income generation project.

The group struggled at first to get traction. The members were unaccustomed to having, accounting and allotting funds or working with specific titles of President and Vice President, which are elected two year positions. However, after reorganizing and creating the position of Treasure, this last year the group started "Tienda Mi Esperanza" (Shop of my Hope). When a product is purchased, 50% of the sale goes to the member that made the item and the rest goes back into the group for materials and supplies. This short video below will introduce the shop, the products, and give you a better feel of the sights and sounds.

(Editorial Note - MarĂ­a, founder and ex-president, plays an active role teaching members how to hand make bracelets and necklaces. Her help was vital in the bracelets order I made, which will be a topic of an upcoming blog.)

Next Blog - A Learning Experience: Using the Order as a teaching tool

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