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For 10 years,Rachel has created and supported programs to help children and families on the margins of society in Camoapa, Nicaragua.
Rachel was completing a year volunteering in Camoapa, when community leaders asked her to help with a host of social service needs. Rachel chose to focus on the many elementary school children from the poorest families who were not going to school, and were out on the street, at risk for exploitation, gangs and continued poverty. She created Hogar Luceros del Amanecer (The Home of the Light of Dawn, or the Light of Opportunity) with a wonderful Nicaraguan staff. The core program includes outreach to families, with workshops for parents on nutrition, sanitation, birth control, etc., and an elementary school which provides three meals a day, school supplies and individualized attention for 30 children. Four years ago, a less intensive program was started for 60 additional children who attend public school, providing lunch, school supplies, tutoring, and outreach to families.
As the children in our programs grew, an adolescent program was added, including vocational training. Also, the Hogar staff have advocated for domestic violence cases, helped families of people with disabilities, worked with a boxing program for troubled youth, and helped with other community needs. All of these services wouldn't have happened without Rachel's impetus, guidance and support. Our non-profit, The Sunrise Foundation, Inc. is continuing this work, as Rachel nears retirement. See thesunrisefoundation.org.
This story was submitted as part of Oxam America's International Women's Day initiative to honor women working to right the wrongs of poverty and hunger. Honorees are selected independently by Oxfam supporters. Selection does not imply endorsement or other support from Oxfam America.
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