I was not expecting to see children using LWR School Kits during my December 2015 visit to Nicaragua. I was there in my capacity as a field volunteer for Foods Resource Bank (FRB), an organization that works with 16 member organizations — including LWR — to help people in developing countries grow food to feed their families.
As part of a visit to observe how Nicaraguan farmers are responding to changing climate and weather patterns, I visited farming communities in the Mateare Caranzo area dealing with a two-year drought. I expected to see lots of farming and agriculture work and I was also absolutely delighted to also see LWR School Kits when I visited a rural school, and later the farm of one of its students. During a visit to Centro Estudios Teológicos Sor (CIEETS), one of LWR’s local partners in Nicaragua, our translator told us the rural children had received the kits and that they are essential because without those supplies, the children can’t stay in school. The principal even thanked me publicly for the School Kits at a special school program for the U.S. visitors.
FRB and LWR understand that agriculture is an important way for farmers living in poverty to feed their families and improve their nutrition. Lutheran churches in the U.S. send profits from fundraisers like crop and livestock sales, olive and grape pickings, and sweet corn feeds. Urban churches either partner with a rural church or conduct their own fundraisers like quilt and pie auctions.
LWR partners with FRB on projects in India, Uganda, Nicaragua and Peru, supporting agriculture projects that lift up women and families and to provide food security and improved nutrition. In the communities I visited, I saw how your gifts of School Kits took our work together even further, helping families build sustainable livelihoods while providing their children with education.