At Fara Foundation, we believe the elderly are among society’s most precious resources. Our grandmothers and grandfathers are an essential link to our collective past and should be able to live affordably, with dignity and security. While it is traditional in Nicaraguan culture for multiple generations to live in the same household, even in such tight-knit communities there are seniors who have no family or whose families have moved away to find work, forcing them to leave an abuela or abuelo to outside care. Still others simply cannot afford to support their elders.
That is why for many years the founders of Fara Foundation have partnered with the Order of St. Ana’s Hogar de Ancianos San Francisco de Asis — “hogar de ancianos” which literally means “shelter for the elderly.” We underwrite 40 percent of the home’s operating budget, since 90 percent of the residents’ families are unable to contribute to their welfare. We work closely with the nuns at the hogar and believe in their quality of care.
Located in the hills outside Matagalpa, the retirement home comfortably accommodates 50 residents. The facility, also a small working farm, is overseen by four extraordinarily hard-working nuns who raise and sell piglets, as well as fruits and vegetables from their garden, to help finance their endeavors. One of the first times a Fara Foundation staff member visited the home, she recalls, “The Mother Superior, Ana Lucia Bosa, was drenched in blood and couldn’t shake my hand, because she had just been butchering a hog. Now, they are able to pay someone else to do that work, and over time, the home’s neighboring families have begun to buy those piglets and sell their meat as a source of income, also.
Our work with the hogar represents what we can do in the future. Fara Foundation is growing with the belief that every little bit counts in a nation where almost half of the population lives in “extreme poverty,” as defined by the United Nations. The UN’s 2009 Human Development Report stated that out of Nicaragua’s 5.5 million people, 2.5 million live in extreme poverty, and many make as little as $100 per month.