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Catholic Relief Services: First-Hand Experience


Charmaine Warmenhoven, parishioner at Sacred Heart parish, has been a CRS National Board Member for four years. Often times, CRS Board Members are given the opportunity to travel to countries with a CRS presence. She writes:

“In March of this year, I was fortunate enough to travel to Nicaragua to see first hand the work that CRS helps support, through the Lenten Rice Bowl collection and many generous donors across the country.

I was honored to have witnessed the wonderful work that is being accomplished by the people of Nicaragua. And I am privileged to be a part of CRS, which helps support our global community.”


crs-nicaragua-1The first picture is of the farm buildings of a home in Telica where CRS helped to bring clean and sustainable water. Before the well nearby was installed, this family of 14 had to have some of the children walk three hours each day to a well to get water for the family to use. And the return trip was also three hours. Now, this family, along with 2,000 other families, are able to have water come into their homes every day. The local school also now has clean water and sanitation, so children are again going to school. The local health clinic is now able to wash linens and bandages, and provide better care.

crs-nicaragua-2-3The second and third pictures are of the local farming cooperative in Jinotega that CRS helped to start. The local farmers are able to bring their crop of lettuce to a central location for washing, sorting, and transporting to the local buyer, Walmart. Before, each farmer was only producing enough to feed their family. Now they are earning money from selling their produce collectively.

crs-nicaragua-4The fourth picture is of a small lending community. These communities started by CRS encourage a group of individuals to come together where each member saves a small sum each month. They then decide as a group where to lend the money when it is needed by one of the members of the community. Most communities are adults from a local area, but this lending community is comprised of children. The children saw the benefits of their parents’ lending community, and started their own. They are saving to purchase t-shirts for their mission work.

crs-nicaragua-5The fifth and last picture is of a CRS worker (in the blue cap) and a multi-generational family of coffee growers in Telpaneca. CRS has been working with the local farmers to reclaim old coffee plants and generate more robust produce through improved agricultural methods. Before, many young people had left the farms for the city in search of work. This father is pleased that his son and grandson have returned to their farm, as it now provides a stable and sustainable living for them all.