ATRAVES was simultaneously a local grassroots organization and an international nonprofit, a small global Asociacion with big dreams for our home community. We saw education, health and community economic development as linked together: working for one required working for the others. We focused our work on Barrio Camilo Ortega/William Galeano, our home neighborhood on the outskirts of Managua, and San Juan de Oriente, a village in the Masaya department.
Our education program brought enrichment programming to students at our partner school, Escuela H.D., including English, computer skills and the arts, and we offered professional development workshops for educators from around Nicaragua. We built a clinic and health education facility called the Casa de Salud, where we provided medical services, health education and an innovative community health worker (promotora) program. Our community development program included adult education in job skills and literacy, as well as a local agriculture initiative.
In San Juan de Oriente, we supported a small group of artisans, building their capacity to access fair trade markets, increase their cooperation and economic wellbeing, and promote their artistry and culture.
The Volunteer Program supported all of these efforts, while creating learning opportunities for international volunteers to "work across borders." Our activities were based in the practice of building solidaridad among all stakeholders, and mobilizing it to create concrete, sustainable outcomes for our community partners.