Esperanza means Hope, and this is a community of Hope!
The community first began around 1948, when the sugar cane company was operating in the area, growing, harvesting and processing cane. The village is located 3 km from the highway, up a dirt track, surrounded by the cane fields. The company provided incredibly basic cubical-style rooms for the cane cutters. Over the years, the community grew, and families lived in tin shacks, with dirt floors and no sanitation.
In 2003 the sugar cane company went under, leaving the community with mass unemployment and little recognized education. The level of economic poverty in the community was devastating.
In 2008, a local organization purchased land and began to provide brick homes for each family who were living there in a shack. Along with the home, the community had running water and improved sanitation! A government recognized school was built in the community for primary grade education. This was the first time the whole community had access to education!
Today, Esperanza village is home to around 280 families.
Go MAD and its partners have been working in Esperanza for over 11 years, working on eliminating all the reasons why people struggle to find a job. Education has been the greatest liability in the community, so we have been focusing on making sure everyone is in school. We provide free transport to high school for the students when they graduate the village school. We currently have 2 students in our university sponsorship program, and are hoping to expand this program in the community soon.
When we first started working in Esperanza, only a handful of people had graduated high school. Last year alone, we had 12 graduates, with 21 students attending High School this year.
We also provide English classes in the village school. Our English teacher works in the school 2 mornings a week, and he is doing a great job at engaging the students in learning a third language!
In 2021 we were able to open our preschool in Esperanza, to help prepare the children for public school. Many of the children begin our preschool unable to speak any Spanish, as their parents speak to them in Creole. Our preschool helps them to learn Spanish, which they need for public school! The children also sing songs, learn to read and write, have fun and play! Our preschool teacher loves Jesus and loves to encourage each child with the unconditional love God has for them, sharing with them their identity in Christ, and helping to develop a positive sense of self in these young lives.
Every week we have our family medical clinic open in the community. We see a lot of patients who suffer from high blood pressure, and a whole host of other ailments – the clinic is always busy.
Working in Esperanza village over the past 11 years has been incredible – seeing the community transforming from a desperate place of mass unemployment, to how it is today – where most families have at least one person earning regular income, and almost all students leaving the village school continuing on to High School! Come and visit us and meet some of the people who are taking hold of the opportunities that we have been blessed to be able to provide them with! It is a miracle to see how God opens doors and touches hearts all over the world to show His love to all of us!