Jania "Marlene" Zeledon — El Paraiso, San Ramon - UPDATED 2016
Five short years ago Marlene was a single mother raising three children between a rusty tin roof and muddy floor. Today, she is a business owner and self-sufficient woman, laying a path for others in her community to follow.
Before the Rainbow Network launched a housing project in her rural coffee community of El Paraiso, Marlene’s children had to walk five miles to the nearest primary school. Her secret dream was to have a secure and dry home that was closer to her kids’ school. Thanks to that housing project, which is located adjacent to the Rainbow Network school, both those dreams came true.
Not only that, but through our microloan program she has launched the community’s only store, and has a cultivated a thriving garden. With the profits from the sale of those vegetables and other basic household items, she saved enough to buy a truck to transport her business inventory. She has recently entered the digital age by becoming a retailer of cell phone minutes that are always in high demand in remote El Paraiso.
Since the housing project was dedicated in 2011, her family has similarly prospered. They can now afford a refrigerator, and Marlene is funding her own children’s university education. In addition, she has become the micro-loan coordinator for her community. Of the changes that have occurred in her village, she sums it up simply.
Patricia Raquel Lopez Zapata—Valle de Jesus, Nagarote
Patricia, a 31 year old single mother with 5 children, prayed many times that she would be able to have a nice house for her family. She and her children were living in an old house made of rotting wood and dirt floors. In the rainy season the floor would become muddy their food would get wet, and they always had a problem with mice and rats. Patricia and her children now have a house of their own thanks to The Rainbow Network! They have a safe and secure place to live that is all concrete with a metal roof. They are able to sleep on the floor and not get wet. They can also keep their food dry and free of mice and rats. Patricia is very proud to own her own house because it was not just given to her but she worked hard for it. Patricia is very grateful for all the help her family has received from The Rainbow Network. Her youngest son had a very bad case of pneumonia and could have died if it was not for the help received by The Rainbow Network doctors. All of her children are able to eat because of the Rainbow Network feeding centers and she volunteers at the center cooking the food. The children also went to Rainbow Network schools, which is where they learned to read and write. Patricia also has received a loan through The Rainbow Network that helped her start her concession stand. She now earns enough money to pay off her loan and provide for her family. PATRICIA’S PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED and she knows that God sent The Rainbow Network to her community!
COLONIA SILVIO MAYORGA, NAGAROTE |From the moment her Mother died when she was only a few days old, Rufina Leonor Torres lived a life marked by loss and struggle. She was raised by her elderly grandmother until she also died, leaving 15-year-old Rufina and her siblings homeless.
“We had no place to live,” she says of those difficult days. “It was tough, because we suffered the cold, hunger and the contempt from the people in the community. I firmly believe that God sent Rainbow Network to my community.”
The 32-year-old is married and the mother of a young son and daughter, and has a home in which to live – along with those same three brothers, for whom Rufina has always cared for. She used a loan to buy a sewing machine, sought out sewing training, and today makes uniforms in a micro-enterprise she operates with a friend. She also makes special Mother’s Day skirts, for which she takes orders for months ahead of time. In addition, she runs a small bakery that produces cakes and breads.
But Rufina’s focus in not all on profits. She is in charge of the health program in her community, as well as giving others free sewing lessons, so that they can work in nearby Zona Franca. She also would like to travel to the U.S. to personally thank the Rainbow Network donors. “Life is a beautiful thing God made,” she says. “If I can help others, I want to. I don’t want it all for myself.”