In 1997, the Sister Cities Committee worked with community members to establish a micro-bank with a revolving loan program. The program provides low-interest loans to small businesses, the majority of which are owned by women. The businesses range from food preparation to shop proprietorship, and from selling household goods to making clothes. The bank today is capitalized with approximately $25,000 contributed by supporters of the Sister Cities Committee.
Over the years, Concordians have been warmly welcomed in San Marcos. Individual and group delegations from Concord began traveling to San Marcos in the 1980s. Several Concord residents have also lived in San Marcos for extended periods of time in order to provide medical assistance, carry out youth projects, teach English, and supervise Sister Cities projects. Large numbers of Concord young people have traveled to San Marcos, including a community-service visit by the youth group of the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord in 2005, sports and service trips in 2008 and 2010, and a trip by Concord Carlisle High School Spanish students for language learning, cultural immersion, and service also in 2010.
Concord Youth Sports and Service in San Marcos: August 2010
In August 2010, Concord young people spent a week in San Marcos playing baseball and soccer and leaving donations of hundreds of pounds of clothing and baseball equipment to local teams.
Their community-service projects included working and interacting with the residents of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a nearby children’s home. In addition, the Concord youths worked in the schools teaching the Nicaraguan students songs in English and participating in a clean-up project both at the school and in the local stadium.
The group also visited the village, El Uval, to witness the well project for which many of them had helped raise funds two years earlier. While there, they helped plant orange trees in the community.
CCHS Students: June 2010
In June 2010, 15 CCHS students and two Spanish teachers lived with families in San Marcos for two weeks. While in Nicaragua, the students visited local historical and cultural areas and worked on the three service projects:
Bringing Drinking Water to El Uval
Since 2008, the Concord-San Marcos Sister Cities Committee has been raising funds for the construction of a well in the village of El Uval in the municipality of San Marcos. Until recent days – and for decades in the past – El Uval’s residents have received their water in barrels transported on horseback from miles away.
The funds raised by the committee have enabled the community to drill a well and construct a water distribution system. The village has subsequently organized a committee to educate citizens about water conservation and the hygienic utilization of water. The availability of clean water will significantly improve the community’s nutrition and public health.
Efforts to raise funds in Concord included partnering with Concord Public Works and their Community Conservation Challenge. The challenge not only raised necessary funds, but also brought a greater awareness to the citizens of Concord about the preciousness of water.