October 18, 2013

Justice in Motion: Responding to Changing Needs with Nicaragua's Poor

with sisters Pat and Kathy Floerke

Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., Ronk Lecture Hall (Schar)

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean will host Pat and Kathy Floerke from the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) which is the Nicaraguan project of the non-profit, faith-based organization Jubilee House Community (JHC).

Co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence and the Department of Foreign Languages, the two sisters will offer a public presentation about their work on Wednesday, October 30, 7 p.m., in the Ronk Lecture Hall located in the Schar College of Education. They will also sell handicrafts in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 29 and 30, with proceeds supporting CDCA and their projects.

Working in Nicaragua since 1994, the CDCA seeks to respond to human needs created by poverty in the second poorest nation in the western hemisphere. The organization works in partnership with communities and cooperatives to facilitate empowerment enabling them to find their own solutions to the problems they identify and to connect them with resources to solve their problems. They focus on working towards freedom from poverty, helping communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities, specifically in the areas of:    
  • Sustainable economic development which provides financing and access to capital for businesses such as a cotton gin, a carpentry workshop, a concrete construction materials plant,and a security cooperative, as well as several microenterprises.    
  • Sustainable organic agriculture offering aid and organizational support to approximately 3,000 farmers growing organic sesame, cotton, coffee and peanuts.    
  • Appropriate technology use which is implemented in proper context whether it is installing solar dehydrating latrines at a rural school, designing a clinic to encourage natural air flow, or using rocking chairs propped up with paving stones for rural dental exam chairs.    
  • Education which is fundamental to ultimately change the lives for Nicaraguans. Not only for the farmers, businesses, and in public health, there is also a goal to educate people in countries with money and power through offering volunteer experiences, hosting delegations and presentations on three annual speaking tours.    
  • Health care to treat people who need medical care, provide dental care, and offer education and support for healthier lives.
Pat and Kathy joined the JHC in 1987. Pat is a licensed clinical social worker who dedicates much of her time to counseling families, especially women and children, at the clinic. Additionally, She runs the Vision Clinic one day a week, checking eyes and handing out donated glasses to patients. Kathy bears the brunt of the unsung work of the CDCA as the bookkeeper, administrator, bill-payer, bank runner and liaison with the Nicaraguan government. She wades through miles of bureaucratic paperwork to make sure it is accurate, and permission is granted to bring donated medicines and other goods into the country.  The web site for the CDCA is at jhc-cdca.org.