Hello, my name is Carol. Several years ago, my kids and I spent the holidays in Nicaragua. This country in the middle of central America is one of the poorest places in the world. I have spent a lot of time in Nicaragua while visiting my husband’s family which has made me appreciate my life here in Canada even more. A week before Christmas, I had been collecting food to create a celebration for my kids. I understood what my kids were used to and I knew that the months we stayed in Nicaragua it would be a culture shock. Even though I wanted my four children to embrace other cultures and how other people lived, I wanted to create a little piece of home. Christmas evening came and I noticed that my neighbors were sitting in the dark, because they had no electricity in their home. It was a grandmother, granddaughter and her two great granddaughters. I knocked on their door and invited them over and they declined, I suspected feeling too ashamed. I tried again, and offered to bring the food to them and once again they declined. Not giving up, I finally got them to accept a plate of food. When they saw the food, you could see their eyes lighting up, from the two great granddaughters, mother and grandmother. They all hovered over the plate, which they placed on the ground and ate the food with their hands, like the food was going to run off their plate. It was heartbreaking. They finished eating the food before I left the house. It touched me deeply to see children starving without food. When you think about Christmas in North America, almost every family has something, whether big or small. And if they can’t afford it, there are food drives. In North America if a family is in need and seeks the help, they will find the help. It makes me sad, knowing that families in Nicaragua don’t have access to food. Every child should have access to school. Every child should be able to go to school without fear of not enough money. Not enough money means they can’t afford a school uniform to be present in class, food for a good learning experience, or supplies so they can’t perform to their best. A child should not be forced to drop out because they don’t have a safe place to call home. I see that their houses are made of strips of bamboo, scraps of wood, metal, plastic or cardboard, mainly because they can't afford better building material. There is no running water, proper latrine or sewer system. In these one hundred square feet of space, an average eight individuals make their home. They share dirt floors, outdoor primitive kitchen, bathroom, shower and laundry area. In fact, food is only the small portion of what they need. Let’s not forget about two other essential necessities being clothes and shelter. Did you know that Nicaragua's unemployment rate is 12%, but in the rural areas, it soars to above 20%? And in spite of continual efforts of various international agencies, of Nicaragua's 6.1 million inhabitants, 2.8 million live below the poverty line. 1.7 million struggle to survive on 2 US dollars a day. Over 1 million live in extreme poverty, struggling to make ends meet on less than $185/US per year. With its 2 million school age children, 1 million of them live in poverty. While many fail to show up or drop out before the year is over. Nicaragua has been through political instabilities, bloody wars and natural disasters. All that has taken its toll on the country. The land of lakes and volcanoes, almost eclipsing its breathtaking natural beauty but with a dark legacy of poverty. I want your help in my effort to end Nicaragua’s poverty. I came up with the idea of HANDS OF COMPASSION. I wanted to create non-profit organization committed to breaking this vicious cycle of poverty by providing adequate housing, food, clothing and education for these families. So my goal is to make a wish come through for as many of these kids as we possibly can, by bringing to them the joy of Christmas providing them with gifts of food and toys; something they could only dream about. I am therefore looking for Partners to accomplish this purpose and to help Nicaragua's poor to rise above these deploring circumstances to improving their lives.