Thursday, November 27, 2014

Activate Project

Flag #10: Nicaragua

Name: “Style Saves”

Location: Estelí, Nicaragua

by Regina Arriola Cauff

Style Saves is non-profit organization operating under The Miami Foundation that raises funds through fashion and art activations in order to provide brand-new clothing to underprivileged students. In just four years, the Style Saves cause has reached children in other countries including Peru and Indonesia, and most recently, Nicaragua. For seven days, myself and two members of the Style Saves team traveled to Estelí to work alongside the generous and struggling Saleisian sisters at El Centro Sor Maria Romero. Sor Anita, Sor Emilse and Sor Liliana are the devoted sisters that work day-to-day to maintain the progression and upkeep of their school and orphanage. Together, they provide free education to their students and a safe and loving living environment for them. On school days, their soup kitchen is open to any child for breakfast or lunch. The sisters offer social services including food donation to the hungry and loans for families in need. The livelihood of the Estelí community relies on the Saleisian sisters’ selfless work and attention.

Throughout our time in Estelí, we focused on creating a mentorship program and experience for both the orphaned children residing at El Centro Sor Maria Romero and local kids. Each day, we invited children to participate in arts and crafts, play dress-up and receive manicures, pedicures and haircuts. With generous donations,we provided students with brand-new clothes, shoes and accessories. We’ve funded the rebuilding of walls at El Centro, given jobs to those involved in constructing them, and even participated in it.

Keyding Torres lives across the street from El Centro. Nearly one year ago, her home burnt down from an electrical fire, leaving Keyding and her family with virtually nothing but gravel, dirt and unstable slabs of tree trunks for shelter. Keyding, her sister Jarixa and their parents Deisy and Ismael share a 14×16 living space that is endangering both their physical and mental wellbeing.

Style Saves patrons helped us raise a total of $4,000 for the Saleisian sisters at El Centro Sor Maria Romero. With these funds, we provided the materials for the rebuilding of Keyding’s home, gave over 50 children mini makeovers, and sent them home with hygiene kits filled with necessities like shampoo, soap, deodorant, hair combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste and underwear—basic items widely unavailable to these children.

We mentored the children we met in Esteli, listened to them and formed deep-rooted relationships with many of them. At the close of our week, we gifted the Saleisian sisters with over $1,000 in cash leftover from donations— providing them the means to continue their work. To put things into perspective, $20 feeds over 100 children with chicken for the day.

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