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mission | Sweet Water Fund, Inc. | Nicaragua non-profit organization • foundation

Sweet Water Mission: To Empower and Inspire women and communities through tourism driven job opportunities, a healthy lifestyle and the arts.

___________________________

Anyone who has ever visited Nicaragua, even for a two week surf trip or a summer “do gooder” mission can tell you about the never ending list of needs of the people. The needs and lack of funding are obvious. From a North-American’s perspective, we can’t believe people live like this and our initial response is to help. Most of us would just open our wallets and hand over whatever we have, twenty bucks is nothing to us, but everything to them.
….
THEN WE WALK AWAY. WE FEEL GOOD, LIKE WE MADE A DIFFERENCE.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that the simple act of you handing over money is an open invitation to the recipient for failure. To not only think of Gringos as a simple, easy handout, but to think that with their new begging skills and plethora of tourists, they may never have to work again.
THIS IS THE VICIOUS CYCLE WE ARE TRYING TO CHANGE.
Sweet Water Fund, Inc. plans to create job opportunities while encouraging education, teaching work ethic, progressive skills and pride in a community. This is NOT a handout. This is a working program where members who benefit from it have to contribute to the community at no cost to them. Only their time, a little effort and the growth of their minds will be the price of membership.
Where do we BEGIN?
Village number ONE: Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. A small fishing village of about four hundred locals in the greater Gigante area, the town is just small enough to know everyone, but surf famous enough to bring in a steady flow of tourism. This tourism is what will ultimately be the savior of the town, and possibly the downfall of it’s youth. This downfall is what we are trying to avoid before it starts, by helping to create a strong minded youth with work & school incentives to prevent the theft and beggars that Costa Rican tourism has created. We don’t want to be just another group of North American do-gooders so that WE feel good. We actually want to create a better community and a better people while helping them. It benefits EVERYONE.
What is our VISION?
To change the vicious poverty cycle of malnutrition, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism, disease and illiteracy. To create better communities filled with love, art, friendship, prosperity, beauty, health and education and spread the knowledge to the entire country.
*We plan to create a cooperative where we provide women of the community with materials and knowledge of a certain skill (if she does not already posess it)  and the opportunity to create their product (be it food or artisan items) from home and sell them back to us.   We have created a headquarters in the center of town, a high traffic area, where the product will be easy to find and buy and others can help contribute or volunteer.  We hope to help increase several local family’s income and move the job market in a positive direction in a quickly building tourist economy.
How are we AUTHENTIC?
The founder of Sweet Water has embedded herself in the village for over six years, working closely with the people, employing them, teaching them english, raising money for illness, organizing beach clean ups, contributing to the school, encouraging the students, and listening to them… their hopes, desires, and lack of belief in themselves. She has also seen the worst of the worst, the lack of work ethic, the simple ignorance of health, of pride in a community, of mistreatment of animals, the obvious missing education or care for education or ability to even learn. For her, the growth of the people makes a better place for everyone – beautifully, emotionally, and absolutely. Moral is higher, they pride themselves on being good people, contributing to the community, education isn’t out of reach and a better life is a reality. It is happening… NOW.
How are we DIFFERENT?
” Give a beggar a dime and he’ll bless you. Give him a dollar and he’ll curse you for withholding the rest of your fortune. Poverty is a bag with a hole at the bottom.”
– Anzia Yezierska
The Sweet Water effect is a different kind of approach to helping the less fortunate. Everyone needs aid, everyone needs food to eat, everyone needs money for their sick grandmother, everyone needs school supplies for their kids and shoes on their feet.
AND why should we just hand it over for nothing? What lessons does that teach?
The lesson that foreigners have a never ending supply of money, and if you steal something from them, they just go to the magic money machine and pull more out to buy a new one. OR the lesson that if you need something, all you have to do is find a tourist, put on your sad face and beg until you get what you need. This lesson builds nothing but thieves, hustlers and get-rich-quick attitudes that lead to drug dealing, petty theft, and turning tricks.
The sweet water approach builds a support team. Nothing is given away for nothing.  We teach work ethic, encourage “outside of the box” thinking like creating a job instead of searching for one. We help them come up with the ideas and nurture their goals with our experience, without doing it for them, and we all work together to raise the money for our projects so they can see the process, from the ground up.  At Sweet Water, anything is possible.
If we TEACH a better way of living, WHILE giving funds that they need, a new tribe of smarter, responsible, creative people will emerge and SHARE their knowledge with their families. An effect that could CHANGE the third world culture indefinitely.
 

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