This August we began our first concentrated construction project through the Homes of Hope and our financing agreement with Banpro. Concentrating production allows us to save money on materials, transportation, and labor and gives the homes a strong social component as new communities are built with the houses. Our first client for this new approach is Manos Amigas, a housing cooperative in Leon formed by school teachers otherwise unable to afford land and their own homes. There are more than fifty such land cooperatives in Nicaragua, and judging by the success of this initiative, many will soon be moving into new homes.
Manos Amigas: In their own words
(translation by Mfon Edet)
Shelter and social connections are two elements of humanity that come together to create hope. Manos Amigas, a housing cooperative in Leon, Nicaragua is a local organization spreading hope in the Utrecht district of Leon. Starting in 2009 with 37 partners, community members of the Utrecht district came together to buy land collectively and individually. The objective: shelter in a dismal Nicaraguan housing market. In the past seven years some partnerships have continued while others have subsided. Nonetheless the communal bond present in Manos Amigas is too strong to be destroyed, “This trajectory of unifying and fighting is one of its main strengths and has allowed them to know each other and strengthen their relationships.”
Beginning with a dream that over time became a reality, brick by brick Manos Amigas has built a strong, stable, proactive community. By coming together, individuals of Manos Amigas are showing a commitment to their homeland, compassion for the welfare of others, as well as supporting social change and individual empowerment. Community members are literally building their neighborhood and the beautiful thing about the Homes of Hope program is that community members have complete ownership; no one can strip them of their homes. The progress of Manos Amigas is truly amazing and a ceremonial celebration will take place in November 2016.