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NicaSwings - Our Mission

Our mission at NicaSwings is simple: to empower the artisans of Project Chacocente by providing free access to the US market to sell their hammocks.

Typically, the artisans in the Project Chacocente community only sell to visiting US mission groups. After purchasing hammocks on such a trip in 2014 we began asking, "What if we could import these hammocks to the USA? What impact would that have on these artisans and their community?"

In the fall of 2014 we met with the artisans, their families, and Project Chacocente USA Inc., the non-profit that operates the Chacocente Christian School. A plan was put in place to develop NicaSwings.com and have returning mission groups bring hammocks to the USA for sale. The artisans agreed on a fair wage for their work, and it was decided that some money from the hammock sales should be used to support the local school.

The website is staffed by volunteers and operated under Project Chacocente USA Inc., the US based non-profit that operates Chacocente Christian School.

Honoring the principles of fair trade, the artisans receive a fair wage and no profit is retained by NicaSwings.com. The operation of the website is donated so all money goes to the artisans and their local non-profit school, Chacocente Christian School.

Working in partnership with the artisans and their families, NicaSwings hopes to empower the small community of Project Chacocente.

What is Project Chacocente?

NicaSwings.Com is owned and operated by Project Chacocente USA Inc. We appreciate your support in buying one of our Nicaraguan handmade swings or hammocks. All of our hammocks are made by artisans from the Project Chacocente community. These artisans and their families previously lived and worked in the Managua city dump and agreed to relocate to the rural countryside of Masaya to join Project Chacocente. They worked hard to learn the skills needed to start a new life and now are the proud landowners of the property they earned. Making hammocks is one of the trades they have learned to help support their families. All of the money from your purchase goes directly to these families and to support the Chacocente Christian School. This website is donated and no money is used to support its operation.

To learn more about Project Chacocente please visit www.outofthedump.org and read more below.

The Past - Out of the dump

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti. About 80% of the people live in poverty, and more than half of those are extremely poor – meaning they don’t know if they’ll eat today. The country has long been plagued by natural disasters, corrupt politicians, and rampant illiteracy.

The Managua city dump was quite literally home to about 175 families. They spent their days looking for food to eat, and recyclable materials they could sell. The families lived in and around the smoldering garbage in shacks consisting of corrugated tin, cardboard and black plastic.

Project Chacocente began in January 2003, working to completely transform lives by relocating families from the dump to an agricultural community about an hour from Managua. The families signed a 5-year contract promising to work with us, learning the skills they needed to be independent: to read and write, to build a home, to farm, to solve problems, to govern themselves, to be more knowledgeable parents, and to start small businesses. Each family now owns the house that they built, along with two acres of arable land.

Recognizing that education is the key to overcoming poverty, the Chacocente Christian School was founded on-site in 2005. It gives families at Project Chacocente and its surrounding area an alternative to the inadequate public education system offered in Nicaragua. The school presently serves 150+ children, and has grown to house classes for preschool through high school. It teaches a broad range of subjects, giving students opportunities that prepare them for successful futures.

The Present - Free Education

As the second poorest country in Central America, the people of Nicaragua often lose hope of ever ending the cycle of poverty for themselves or their children. Two thirds of Nicaraguans live on about $1 a day. 60% of children drop out of school by sixth grade.

To provide hope and improve future employment prospects, Chacocente Christian School offers a Christ centered, tuition-free, full day education. Our dedicated teachers are well trained and our class size of 15 students ensures that the individual needs of our students are met.

We provide a nutritious lunch, the only meal of the day for some, because we believe hungry children cannot learn well. We offer classes not taught in the public schools, such as English, Computer Science, Christian Education, Traditional Dance, Art and Music. We have one of the few libraries in Nicaragua, and our full-time librarian instills a love of reading in our students.

Although the families of Project Chacocente have fulfilled the requirements of the original contract they signed when moving out of the Managua Dump, we continue to support their continuing education and technical training. Currently, nine residents are enrolled in classes including Teacher School, Advanced Computer Technology and Advanced English.

The Future- Thankful and Hopeful

Project Chacocente was founded with a deep reliance on God. The original plans for the Project included a church on the grounds. Now that the families have “graduated”, they would like to give thanks for all He has given them. The church will serve as a visible sign of our dependence on God and a symbol of all of the hope He brings to those in need. Asbury First UMC in Rochester, NY has donated $10,000 as matching funds to begin construction. A total of $10,000 is needed to complete the church building.

Upon completion of Phase1 of Project Chacocente, when the families were presented with the deeds to their land, their desire now is to pass on to their neighbors the blessings they have been given by God. The surrounding vicinity is one of dire poverty with poorly constructed homes and limited access to water and health care. Visiting delegations from the USA and members of the Chacocente community will work together to rebuild the homes of their neighbors. The feasibility of improving access to clean water is being investigated by members of Valencia UMC.

We hope to develop a community center of sorts that will offer technical and continuing education, career training and perhaps house visiting medical and dental clinics. The feasibility and need for this is currently being evaluated by the families, staff and board of directors.

In early 2015 we also launched this website, NicaSwings.Com. The goal of NicaSwings is simple: to empower the artisans of Project Chacocente by providing free access to the US market to sell their hammocks. Following the standards of fair trade, the artisans are paid a fair wage for their work and all profits are returned to the artisans and their local non-profit school. Your purchase on NicaSwings.com truly does make a difference in someones life.

To help impact more lives, please visit www.outofthedump.org to learn how you can help today.

If you have a question about this website or an order please email greg@nicaswings.com

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