This is what we strive to do, through employment. We’ve found that most poor people want to earn money and decide how to use it to care for their families, as opposed to receiving an endless supply of handouts consisting of many things they don’t really need. Stable income can end the cycle of poverty. Education helps, IF it brings income.
Bismarck and Raul lowering the well pump down over 150 feet
... Nicaragua remains far from the first world in terms of development (it’s the 2nd- or 3rd-poorest country in the western hemisphere). Jobs are scarce and healthcare is poor. In 2003 we were looking for an opportunity to enable people to help themselves through work so they could provide for their families and make other decisions that work best for them. After securing our 501(c)(3) status as a tax-exempt charitable organization, we bought some land and began building a farm: fencing, well, small buildings, plantains and pitahaya (dragon fruit). We later added tilapia production, bananas, and guayaba. Along the way we have employed many different people: fathers, mothers, college students, and more. We’ve met many medical needs, sent kids to camp, and helped out wherever else we could.
Map of Nicaragua
In 2018, we began the Sheep Dreamzzz project to make and sell beautiful baby blankets. One of our on-site directors has trained (and is constantly training) women from the community to knit, and for each blanket they complete, they receive nearly all of the “profit” (what’s left over after the costs of yarn and shipping). This is moving women from zero income to a level on par with, or perhaps even ahead of, the men who work on the farm. Learn More
Eliet making a Sheep Dreamzzz blanket
We also began feeding elderly men and women from the community every Thursday morning, ensuring they at least have that one full and healthy meal, including multivitamins, each week. But more than just the food, we talk with them, joke with them, and hear their stories. These are fun times to which everyone looks forward. The meal is held on the porch of a medical clinic that a group from Charleston, South Carolina built right in front of our farm, so when the clinic is in operation they can also be first in line for healthcare. And all this is done with help from loving people in the community who cook the food, lend the tables and chairs, and invite the ancianos. Sheep Not Goats pays for the food and bicycle taxi rides for those who need them.
Our (Nicaraguan) workers have also taken the lead in preparing and distributing food packages during times of extreme need, and executed a local toy drive during December 2017.
Mundito, Ramon, Tino & his wife sharing "desayuno" together
Sheep Not Goats has two directors from the US who live much of the year on the farm. Neither has ever received a penny of salary, nor have any of our board members. So as a donor you can rest assured that a high percentage of your gift goes to the people we are trying to help. Thank you for reading this far and for supporting the work. We would love to hear from you. Want to Help?