Medical students Nicole Lighthouse and Samantha James were inspired by JustHope’s Social Enterprise programs during a medical outreach trip to Chacraseca in May of 2016. They returned to school and conducted several fundraisers and education campaigns on-campus to raise funds for a microloan.
Samantha and I first learned of the JustHope microbank program during a medical outreach trip to Nicaragua through JustHope and Power of a Nickel. Heading into our second year of medical school, we were so grateful to learn about this beautiful culture, and to be immersed with an amazing cohort. Samantha and I are both inspired to serve through medicine, to improve access to healthcare, and share a mutual interest in women’s health. When we were offered the opportunity to help fundraise for a microbank, Samantha and I were naturally thrilled to accept.
When Samantha and I put our heads together to brainstorm our approach to fundraising, we decided on two major projects. The goal of the first fundraiser was to educate the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine community about the importance of pig farming in Chacraseca, and to share how this business has proven to be a great success for women in the microloan program. For one week, our academic community voted through fundraising for the professor of choice to wear a pig costume for a day. The costume was worn during a renowned football game for our Founder’s Day festivities to increase awareness of the project and emphasize the importance of agriculture in the communities of Chacraseca. During this time, we went door-to-door to the offices of our university to share the objective of the microloan program and fundraiser.
Our second fundraiser was our Central American Night, hosted by Lori and Jason Haxton. Tickets for the event were purchased before or during the event. The evening was rich with delicious Central American cuisine and discussion about pottery and clothing of the region. The evening wove together stories of cultural experiences and tradition. We are very grateful to our hosts for making this event possible.
A very special thank you must be given to Samantha Daum, who made the remaining funds of this microloan possible. In addition, at the start of fundraising, Samantha created a GoFundMe account allowing for online donations.
We found great joy in this experience; that we could contribute in any way to this program. We will always be inspired by these dedicated, resilient women who work so hard to improve the lives of their families, and the well-being of their communities.
We must express our sincerest gratitude to Leslie Penrose, JustHope, and to all that contributed to this experience. Thank you so much for the work that you do, and the impact you have in these communities and beyond.