As many of you know, I have been working hard, with a team of four other Peace Corps Volunteers, to raise money for a retreat created especially for women living with HIV in Nicaragua. You can donate to the project here.This is an event I am especially excited about, and I think you should be too. Here are 4 reasons why you should donate to the HIV Positive Retreat for Women in Nicaragua.
1.) Women living with HIV are one of the most underserved and disadvantaged groups in Nicaragua.
I can attest that it is difficult to be a woman in Nicaragua. This fact is reinforced for me every day, when I am harassed by men I do not know in the streets of the town where I have been living for more than six months, when I see girls timidly shy away from answering questions I ask during presentations in schools, when I hear a story about another single mother, whose partner did not stick around to help raise their children. These stories I take only from my own personal experiences and interactions. A comprehensive look at the culture of machismo merits its own blog post and more, but for now, may it be understood: women face great challenges in Nicaragua. This is only compounded by an HIV diagnosis. A friend recently told me that women most often contract Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) through their husbands, because men are often unfaithful and bring disease into their homes. Because there is not much data available to speak to this, it is difficult to verify her assertion, but given the culture I have just described, it is not hard to imagine. The helplessness and unjustness of that alone makes me impassioned to offer this retreat. If that were not enough, in my experience in Nicaragua I have not seen any psychological nor emotional support systems in place for people living with HIV, and the taboo that surrounds STIs prevents people from actively seeking care and services. Women may have no one with whom to talk about their diagnosis or their emotions, no support in taking regular medication and no help in accomplishing everyday tasks. This retreat is a small way to provide that support service to the women who need and deserve it most, and it is only made possible through donations.
2.) We are partnering with a Nicaraguan-based women’s organization to provide the retreat.
The International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) is a global organization run by women living with HIV and aims to “lead efforts towards securing and improving the quality of life for women living with HIV.” Peace Corps is partnering with their Nicaraguan office to plan, design, and facilitate this event. The involvement of ICW in this project ensures that we provide support and services in caring way that is sensitive to culture and the unique perspective of women living with HIV. Your donation does not help Peace Corps the institution, but a collaborative, from-the-ground effort between volunteers and Nicaraguan women who are already working hard to improve the lives of women living with HIV.
3.) 100% of your donation goes directly towards this retreat.
I know the holidays are fast approaching, and many non-profits and other organizations are asking for your support right now. I know how tricky it can be to prioritize where you give money to charity. I can guarantee you that every cent we raise will go directly to funding this retreat, a claim many organizations that work abroad cannot make. Your money will not benefit the Peace Corps, nor the Nicaraguan government, but Nicaraguan women themselves.
4.) All donations are tax-refundable.
This is a self-explanatory plus. 😉
5.) You will feel good, and enable me to feel good!
It’s thought that people experience a happiness high when they donate to a charity (especially a worthwhile one like this). Since the Peace Corps provides human resources to the countries it serves, this retreat is only possible through donations from people like you. With your help, I can participate and facilitate in the retreat, and experience my own feel-good high. Why not make both of us feel a little happier?
What are you waiting for? Again, you can donate here. Please contact me or comment with any questions.