When ELM attorneys and their families visit the village of San José, they find the green, volcanic hills of the Matagalpa region to be refreshingly cool compared to the rest of Nicaragua. The San José community, made up of 29 families, is fortunate to call this temperate region home. Sadly, however, the region is noted for more than just its cool climate and rural charm; the area surrounding San José suffers from deep economic and social poverty.
Through its partnership with Agros International, the village of San José is working to buck that trend. Ten years ago, the families that comprise the village today were struggling to grow enough food to eat as they farmed rented land. Today, they cultivate their own land and are far along the Path to Prosperity. That’s the model that Agros uses to measure growth in villages. Currently, San José has a Prosperity Index score of 57, where “0” means extreme poverty and “100” signifies resilience against poverty. ELM, by agreeing to sponsor San José, has demonstrated a commitment to helping the village reach 100.
This commitment is more than financial. Traveling to San José allows ELM attorneys and their families to spend time with the people they support: sharing meals, learning about the village’s crops, and even playing baseball. Agros encourages these relationships, one of the many ways it encourages holistic development. In addition to addressing economic concerns, like helping San José farmers find buyers for their crops, Agros tackles other issues, like the village’s lack of mental health resources, the need for nutrition education, and gender inequality. By focusing on key issues in all areas of life, Agros is empowering San José villagers to make their community truly beautiful — in more ways than one.