Discussion of Current Issues in Nicaragua – July 19
Please join an informal discussion of current issues in Nicaragua at the next meeting of the Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project and Hartford Public Library in Room 141 of the library, 500 Main St., from 12:30 to 1:30 P.M., on Wed., July 19. We have invited Haydeé Castillo of Ocotal to participate via Skype in the discussion. Spanish- and English-language translators will help promote discussion.
An activist at the international, national, and local levels, Haydeé is president of the Instituto de Liderazgo de Las Segovias, the Leadership Institute of the Segovias. She advocates for human rights and equality, including women’s and indigenous leadership and rights; climate and environmental protection; non-violence in civil society; and alleviation of poverty. A long-time friend of the Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project, she has welcomed many delegations from Hartford to Ocotal and is known in this area from her speaking tours here.
The program is the part of the library’s Bridging Cultures Series focused on Nicaragua and usually includes people of different cultures. Participants may take their lunches and there is no admission fee or registration.
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The Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project is a story of two cities reaching out to each other, one in Nicaragua, Central America, the other Connecticut in the United States. It begins in 1986 when the Hartford Ocotal Sister City Project(HOSCP) was established with the help of the Capitol Region Conference of Churches and moves forward again in 1995 when the Project began providing seed money for a micro-lending program called FUNAFAM, which is based on the Grameen Bank model. Financial support from this program has helped hundreds of Ocotal women start small businesses of their own.
Over a period of 29 years HOSCP has used contributions to help fund the following programs, evolving from direct material aid to self-help initiatives:
- Material aid shipments in conjunction with the New Haven-Leon SCP
- Educational events
- Helping to fund the purchase of an ambulance
- Helping to fund the clean water project
- Hurricane Mitch relief
- FUNAFAM, a microcredit program based on the Grameen Bank model. Loaning small amounts of money to individuals starting small businesses
- Health education programs in outlying areas surrounding Ocotal
Many of the founders of the HOSCP are still active in the work. The sister-city commitment does not go out of fashion, nor does it cease to inspire those involved.
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