World peace and social justice are built through knowledge and mutual respect. We seek to build friendship and understanding between the people of the greater Norwalk area and Nagarote. Our sustainable development projects for youth development, housing, reforestation, scholarships, preschoool, and bicycle loans help the people of Nagarote help themselves. Each year, visiting delegations support technical and cultural interaction.
Volcano Momotombo overlooks Nagarote
Nicaragua has had a troubled history. Revolution, the U.S.-sponsored Contra war (1981-1990), earthquakes, hurricanes and austerity measures imposed by the IMF/World Bank severely damaged Nicaragua’s economy and social fabric. Although impressive strides were made during the 80’s, Nicaragua, is now one of the two poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere—Haiti is the other.
In March 1986, a group of people gathered together at a Norwalk church to form a sister city connection between Norwalk, Connecticut and Nagarote, Nicaragua. They believed that through people-to-people contact and exchange, U.S. citizens could get to know Nicaraguans, transcending the violence, politics and propaganda which often characterized "official" relations between the two governments.
Working with a Nagarote Board of Directors or "Directiva," the Project sponsored delegations, material aid shipments and a variety of projects, including developing Nagarote's first library. Project decisions and planning have always taken place at the local level in Nagarote.
DEVELOPMENT THROUGH PARTNERSHIP
Ciudad de Nagarote: The municipal government of Nagarote is an active partner on many of our projects.
SosteNica: In 2000, the Project partnered with SosteNica, a non-profit Nicaraguan Micro-lending organization to provide small loans to Nagarote businesses. The impact on the local economy is profound, creating many new jobs in a community with more than 50% unemployment and rampant underemployment.
Visit the SosteNica Website!
New England Biolabs Foundation: NEBF has supported our Urban Reforestation Project. In 2006 the teens in our Youth Project grew more than 3,000 trees from seed and planted 2,249 in barren areas of Nagarote. Learn more about this project at our Urban Reforestation page.
Norwalk Community College: Offers credit courses in Intermediate Spanish and Service Learning in Nagarote.
AmeriCares ships our material aid to Nicaragua free of charge
Mansfield Communications, Ashley Lalonde of Frank Lionetti Design and Colby Co. Printing donate their services to create our Annual Report each year.
David Murchie of Hunter Mill created our NicaPhoto.com web site.
SoundPrints owner Bill Burnham donated dozens of preschool book sets in Spanish
Tauck World Discovery and the Tauck Foundation: Tauck World Discovery and the Tauck Foundation have taken a great interest in our project and 11 TWD employees recently traveled to Nagarote as part of a tree planting delegation.
The 22 Haviland Street Gallery has hosted fashion shows and photography exhibitions.
Volunteer Optometrists Serving Humanity (VOSH) provided free eye examinations and prescription glasses to youngsters in our youth project during their visit to Nicaragua.
TecsChange: TechsChange in Boston provided us with new computers for our Nagarote office.
Grants and Gifts: Alex Nason Foundation, Wellspring Trust, Helen Buchanan and Judy Hungaski fund expansion of the NicaPhoto project. Students at Northport High School and the Confirmand Class at Norwalk Congregational Church on the Green support the Jeronimo Lopez Preschool Project. The Cottonwood Foundation supplies scholarships for 20 students. The estate of Jean Harper, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of New Canaan, the Darien Methodist Church and the Darien Rotary Club have provided funding to continue the Youth Project. The Tauck Foundation provided a 3 year (2002-2004) grant to support our Youth Outreach and Development Project. A Westport Sunrise Rotary grant provided an agricultural loan fund. A gift of stock from Rev. Susan Pfeil was invested in SosteNica and provides loans to Nagarote business people. A grant from John Levin and Diane Keefe has been recycled through our bicycle loan fund and housing loans. A gift of stock from Jim and Donna Archibald was used to implement the Jeronimo Lopez Youth Project. Norwalk Councilman Fred Bondi has donated a wealth of sporting goods and equipment which are being put to excellent use.
Nagarote children enjoying the playground built by the Darien United Methodist Church delegation in August, 2001.
Delegations are a vital part of sister city work. Teachers, students, doctors, therapists, business people, filmmakers, and many others have joined dozens of N/NSCP delegations to Nagarote. During their visit, the delegates live with host families, join local events, tour the region, and may work on service projects. N/NSCP has sponsored visits to Norwalk by the Nagarote mayor and members of the sister city committee. In the Norwalk area, the Nagarote delegates visit schools, churches, housing developments, hospitals, and meet with community groups.
Darien United Methodist Church Delegation.
From left: Donna Holt-Archibald, Ross Nichol, Angeles Dam, Dona Raquel,
Jeanette Bassinger Ishii, Nikki Archibald, Mark Dam, Alison Wood,
Leyla Dam, Jean Choi, Elizabeth Jenkins-Sahlin and Chris Hancock.