Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Granada NGOs Meet to Discuss Future Collaboration on Projects

It's great to be back in Nicaragua again. Isabel and I landed here last Wednesday, and we haven't stopped moving since then. Here's a quick overview of what's been going on here over the past week or so.

We ran into Sylvia, one of the leaders of Cena con Las Madres (older post about the community, brief overview of CCLM). She came up to us grinning ear-to-ear with a success story. A group of French travelers came through Granada and wanted to participate in CCLM. They went out to the Sabeneta neighborhood where the CCLM ladies live, and they cooked, ate, and danced the night away. The ladies brought in $60 bucks on the night (the equivalent of two week's worth of income for most of them), and the travelers took back an experience that I'm sure they'll be hard-pressed to forget for a long time.

People Helping People Global is very close to finding a permanent home in Granada! As many of you all probably know, our organization has operated in a nomadic style over the past year or so (Our apologies to those Continental workers that had to carry around our 75 pound checked bags). However, our friends at Soccer Without Borders have decided that they need a bit more space to house their projects, so they have bequeathed their lease on to us. The tentative move-in date is September 12th.

The last piece of exciting news has to do with the meeting that we had last Friday. Soccer Without Borders, the group mentioned above, decided that it would be a good idea to bring together the non profit groups that operate in Granada, Nicaragua. We had a pretty good showing, and the meeting really gave us a good starting point for collaboration. What's great about the group is that every organization brings something different to the table. Here is a list of the organizations that attended and a bit about them:

  • Soccer Without Borders: a US-based NGO that uses soccer as a conduit for social change in various countries across the globe.
  • Hotel con Corazon: a hotel in Granada which directs all of its profits to education programs in the rural areas outside of the city.
  • Vida Joven: provides mission-oriented support to youth in Nicaragua.
  • La Esperanza Granada: a Nicaraguan-based NGO that provides supplementary support in the primary schools surrounding Granada.
  • FC Carita Sports College: a group that focuses on sport to help local at-risk youth.
  • Cruz Roja de Nicaragua: the local Red Cross branch.
  • Empowerment International: works with "street children" to help them escape their situations through various means (e.g., photography, daily programs).
We head out to see our micro-lending groups tomorrow for the fourth month of loan repayments. We're very excited to see how everyone is doing and how their businesses are fairing in this unforgiving rainy season that we're experiencing right now. We'll keep you updated.

Take care,

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Local 'People' Helping Foreigners in Need"

Exciting news, everyone. People Helping People Global just got an article published in the Henrico Citizen. The article, entitled "Local 'People' Helping Foreigners in Need," was published in the Henrico, VA newspaper's August 19-September 1 edition. It outlines the general work and origin of the organization, in addition to focusing on the benefits of the new website and its ability to connect our donors with our loan recipients. The article may be posted in the online edition sometime in the next few days, but for now, I have scanned the print version and added it to our website. You can access the article here. Thank you all for your continued support, and just remember that you can help us get more articles like this one just by spreading the word about our organization.

Take care for now,


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Celebrating World Humanitarian Day

Since December of 2008, August 19th has become important day of observance amongst the international community. The United Nations General Assembly marked today as a day to “contribute to increasing public awareness about humanitarian work and the importance of international cooperation, and to commemorate all humanitarian and United Nations and associated personnel who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause, and those who have lost their lives in the course of duty.”

People Helping People Global would like to extend a brief yet sincere thank you to all of those humanitarians out there who have devoted their lives to serving others. We would also like to take a moment to remember all of the humanitarians who have lost their lives while serving the global community.

If you would like to learn more about World Humanitarian Day, please visit the official website at: http://ochaonline.un.org/whd/index.html.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Micro-Lending Group Fights Poverty by Connecting Donors with Entrepreneurs Thousands of Miles Apart

Hey guys,

Below is a press release describing our new website features. Please let your friends know, and if you have any connections to media outlets, please forward them the information. Thanks much, and take care.


Micro-Lending Group Fights Poverty by Connecting Donors with Entrepreneurs Thousands of Miles Apart

Fairfax, VT, Tuesday, August 10, 2010 People Helping People Global (PHPG) , a Vermont-based nonprofit, has just introduced a new website that will attempt to revolutionize philanthropy as we know it. This new website allows donors from all over the world to donate directly to entrepreneurs in Central America. “Instead of writing a check to a big nonprofit and hoping that your donor dollars make their way to the right place, we’ve set up a system that allows you to choose exactly where your hard-earned money is going,” said Alex Tuck, co-Founder and Executive Director of PHPG.
Informational meeting in Avelardo Enrique

The system is pretty simple.

A member of PHPG investigates which neighborhoods have the highest incidence of poverty while also having a high potential for success. “We like to work in neighborhoods where other nonprofits are also helping out. If education and infrastructure are being addressed by other organizations, then there’s less to distract us from business start-ups and job creation,” says Tuck.

PHPG then has meetings to inform the community about the micro-lending program and passes out applications to those who are interested.

All applications are reviewed, and each person that requests a loan is interviewed. The purpose of the interview is to meet the family, learn about their living situation, current income, educational background, and borrowing history. If the potential loan recipient falls under the lending guidelines of the organization, then he or she is added to the new website.

On the new website, donors may view pictures of the potential loan recipients and read their stories. If the donor would like to contribute to a particular entrepreneur, all he or she has to do is select the desired dollar amount and click donate. The system works just like any retail website. The donor just goes to his or her cart and checks out. After confirming the order, the donor is taken to the PayPal website where the donation is processed.

After PHPG receives the full donation amount, the organization disburses the money to the loan recipient. The loan recipient then pays back monthly payments on the loan over the agreed upon period. After the loan is repaid, the funds are used to facilitate new loans to other members of the community.

PHPG believes that they have a system that sets it apart from the organizations that currently exist in the micro-lending world. “Micro-lending started as a way for impoverished individuals to raise themselves out of poverty. Now, a lot of companies look at it as an easy way to make money. Unfortunately, it’s at the expense of the ultra-poor. Our goal at People Helping People Global is to put the philanthropy back into micro-finance,” said Tuck.

Another differentiating factor for PHPG is its size and intimacy. Isabel Gamm, co-Founder and Program Manager of PHPG, tells of her experience, “Community members trust our organization, because we interact with them regularly. In a community where we work, named Avelardo Enrique, we have meetings under the mango tree. During these meetings, we connect on a personal level. We talk about success stories and how to combat problems. We grumble over the heat. We discuss bookkeeping methods, where to buy the best nacatamales, and laugh as the falling mangos whiz by our faces. Our meetings are formal yet fun. That is what separates our organization other micro-lending groups.”

One of the biggest differences that PHPG has with other micro-lending groups is that it doesn’t charge interest. “We charge absolutely no interest on our loans, because we strongly believe that micro-loans requiring borrowers to pay high rates of interest often leave the borrower in more debt than when they began. Our goal is to raise communities out of poverty, not perpetuate the vicious cycle,” said Gamm.

The new website may be found at http://www.peoplehelpingpeopleglobal.org. There readers may learn more about the organization, try out the new donation system, and access the organization’s social media outlets.

About People Helping People Global

People Helping People Global is a project of Building New Hope, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It partners with locals in impoverished regions of the world to develop sustainable economic initiatives. It currently focuses on providing zero percent interest micro-loans to individuals living on less than two dollars per day.


Alex Tuck
Executive Director
People Helping People Global
(804) 859-5597

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PHPG is Heading to the Carytown Watermelon Festival!

Hey there, People Helping People Global supporters!

I just wanted to let you all know that you can find us this Sunday, August 8th at the Carytown Watermelon Festival in Richmond, VA. According to the website, over 115,000 people are estimated to attend, making it the  largest single-day festival in Virginia.

Isabel and I will be out there representing PHPG with our bright, powder blue shirts. We plan to have tons of great Nicaraguan, fair-trade items available, ranging from hand-crafted earrings to recycled paper products to ceramic whistles. Additionally, since we've had to cancel our bowling event, we have tons of great gifts from Richmond-area businesses that we're going to raffle off. We plan to put together several gift packages, including gift certificates to the Capital Alehouse, Basils, and the Can Can Brasserie.

Please let all of your Richmond friends know to look for us at the festival. Also, if you haven't done so already, please follow us by clicking on the "Follow" link on the right-hand side of this blog and tell all of your friends to do the same! Thanks much for reading.

Until next time...