The Rainbow Network

The Rainbow Network

We are an interdenominational Christian Ministry working only in rural remote Nicaragua with about 42,000 people who live in 144 specific geographic communities. We have network offices in Ciudad Sandino, San Ramón, Nagarote, La Dalia, La Paz Centro, Ciudad Darío, El Crucero and San Dionisio.

Everything we do in Nicaragua involves community participation. We have significant community organizations in each village and do all of our work through these groups. Our work is focused on four areas, healthcare, education, economic development and housing.

With more than 90 percent of our budget going directly toward programming, we are primarily supported by individuals and churches. Many provide $30/month for scholarships, respond to special medical needs, collect school supplies and other needed items, or simply make regular donations.

Several churches, as well as individuals, partner with specific communities, raising the funds for a housing project and sponsoring scholarship students, and making regular visits to connect with the people. Annual Go & See trips are scheduled to introduce people to the efforts in Nicaragua.

Housing

So far, 1,018 houses have been built through Rainbow Network’s housing program. Built 25 at a time, these basic homes, at a cost of $4,800, are made up of 540 concrete blocks, with a secure wood or metal door and a cement floor to prevent parasites. Most have access to basic electricity, and all homes require a latrine and an outdoor cook stove to reduce smoke-related respiratory illness.

Community participation in construction is essential to the Rainbow Network housing model and reflects our roots with Habitat for Humanity. All construction is supervised by a Rainbow Network staff foreman and work is completed by recipient families working alongside community volunteers. At the end of each project is a joyous community dedication ceremony, where families who never had doors receive keys to their new home.

Families develop a sense of ownership by paying back the cost of materials with a no-interest 10- to 25-year Rainbow Network loan. All homeowners take part in our micro-loan program, which creates more opportunities for security and helps to maintain our repayment rate on the $17-per-month mortgages. The pride and empowerment built through this model, transfers into responsibility and lifelong benefits for homeowners and their children.

Economic Development

Our Economic Development program focuses on micro enterprise loans, averaging about $280 each. We have about 5,000 loans outstanding at any given time. All are for entrepreneurial activities… simply to make money. We do not make loans for housing, education, healthcare, etc.

We organize small community “banks” with about 15 members, who each promise to pay us back and also to pay us for any other member that defaults. We run about a 98% payback.

Since our beginnings in 1995, we have made more than 80,000 Rainbow Network small business loans, while teaching families how to run a small business.

Education

Rainbow Network’s high school scholarship students are the pride and joy of their communities. Currently, there are more than 1,000 student scholarship recipients in Rainbow Network communities. In the rural areas where we operate, there are no neighborhood or community high schools. Even without the challenge of traveling to school, the cost of tuition, uniform and supplies makes high school out of reach for our population. Scholarships make it possible for students to feed their growing minds, and give legs to their dreams for a brighter future.

More than 8,000 students per month receive an elementary education in Rainbow Network’s grade schools. Rather than constructing new buildings, we operate our 400+ schools in private homes or community buildings.

Leadership development and giving back are integrated in the scholarship program. Recipients are required to volunteer in their community, either tutoring children or illiterate adults in our elementary schools, serving in the feeding centers, or working as an assistant in Rainbow Network pharmacies and clinics.

Healthcare

Rainbow Network has 10 full-time physicians; all are Nicaraguans, as is all our staff in Nicaragua. Our doctors go to a different community each half day and provide medical consultations. Our doctors carry medicines with them to dispense immediately. The patients are charged a small fee depending on the economic condition of that community. Most pay 15 Cordoba’s or 75 cents for the doctor’s visit and the medicine that they need. Our doctors estimate they have provided more than 700,000 patient consultations since 1995.

Professional healthcare does not exist in most of the communities where we work. Rainbow Network’s goal is to provide at least the basic medical services needed to relieve pain and suffering plus keep the population healthy and free of treatable diseases. We offer support to those with special medical needs that are beyond basic medical care, not only arranging for the care, but also all the costs associated with the special treatment and/or hospital needed to treat the ailment, surgery or rehabilitation.

Each year the Rainbow Network spends about $150,000 on medicine for the doctors to have on hand to treat their patients. Large quantities of vitamins and anti-parasite medicines are also donated by various organizations within the United States and abroad.

For more information about Rainbow Network and how to become a partner, visit RainbowNetwork.org or redarcoiris.net.

One Comment

  1. pauline jackson

    June 28, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Wow, such wonderful work being done, and on such a large scale. So many great organizations that we haven’t perhaps heard about. Thanks Darrell for inviting all the send their information.