Dear Friends of Adelante Mujer,
Over the past eight years, I have had the graced opportunity to assist in the mission of Adelante Mujer as a member of the Board of Directors.
When Sister Ann McKean, CSA, asked me to be part of the board, I hesitated a bit to begin yet another task in another country. However, Ann cheerfully allowed me all the time I needed to make a decision to commit to the mission for Nicaraguan women. After some months, I responded affirmatively because of CSA’s longtime commitment to Nicaragua in the services of education and health care. I did not just commit to Ann’s call but to an inner sense of my own life of ministry to the poor whether in Chicago, Nigeria, Mexico, or Israel. Those women were calling me.
The Board of Directors, at the time I joined, needed to organize itself as guardian of the newly incorporated Adelante Mujer. We had a very humble start but we had Ann’s focused vision about whom we were serving and how they would be educated at URACCAN University. Our purpose was not to build another institution but to support women medical students at a university where they were educated to be doctors using western and indigenous approaches to health care on the East Coast of Nicaragua. This mission-in-reverse approach is significant in a country like Nicaragua where systems succumb to the issues of climate change, poverty, and a host of other issues. This requires another way to serve, namely, listening to the needs at the base and work to meet those needs. This mission focus is not on buildings but on people having specific needs. With that in mind, the Board of Directors incorporated in the USA to serve as an outside source of assistance with no incursions on systems that we, or the people we serve, have no control to change.
With our eye on the work to raise funds for women, we established standards that the students are required to achieve in order to succeed in their system. The standards are high. The work of the board has internal expectations that any student accepted into the program be financed fully at the time of their approval. The results are impressive. The mutual commitment of the students and our organization is based on trust and a local support system that helps to understand the need for further assistance. Because we help students for URACCAN University, our organization benefits the university since most of the women medical students who graduate are in the Adelante Mujer program. Within the eight years of incorporation, Nicaragua now has 70 doctors who work in hospitals, clinics and at university level as teachers. Because of the mission-in-reverse focus on the person rather than the institution, our program is well over 90% successful in terms of assisting students who graduate and serve. All of this has happened in the last 10 years beginning with Ann’s vision and the board’s support.
I am deeply grateful to be able to serve as one of the board members who have helped to design a program that is so successful in its mission goals. I hope that the board will continue its work for many years to come. I fully intend to support their goals with any assistance that I can give.
Esther Suzanne Hicks,