Casa-Pueblito is a charitable organization located in Managua, Nicaragua's capital city. The non-profit international organization resulted from the amalgamation of two sister organizations, Pueblito Canada (founded in Costa Rica) and Casa Canadienese (Nicaragua). For decades, both foundations were working towards similar goals. Individually, they strived to promote social justice, inclusivity, youth education, environmental change, and an intercultural relationship between youth in Canada and in Latin America.
In 2014, the two organizations amalgamated to form a new foundation named Casa-Pueblito. With a shared vision and even greater capacity for growth, the organization operates from an office in Toronto, Canada as well as Managua, Nicaragua to promote community development, social justice and intercultural learning between youth living in both countries. Casa-Pueblito continues many programmes within the local Nicaraguan communities which focus on health and sanitation, food and water security issues, education and culture, gender equality, and environmental sustainability.
During her trip to Nicaragua, photographer Tilly Goble had the chance to experience many things outside her comfort zone, and one such instance was the day she met a little boy named Adonis.
"He has no toys, no shoes, no food other than that which Jaime, (a coordinator at Casa Pueblito), brings him every morning. This boy is a survivor, a strong little boy who still finds it easy to smile despite his story, a story which would break the heart of anyone who has one," said the photographer.
Adonis is now living with his grandfather, as his father is pretty absent. His two older brothers are part of another project that works with children in difficult family situations. The centre's coordinators are also in communication with Managua's Ministry of Family in efforts to aid Adonis' situation, explained Ashley Rerrie, the country director at Casa- Pueblito.
According to Rerrie, the local areas where Casa Pueblito runs its programmes would look a lot different without Casa’s continued efforts. Rerrie explained that many of the communities and local grassroots organizations that Casa Pueblito works with do not have access to international funding.
“Our projects often give communities a chance to begin organizing and increasing their capacity, which has given some communities the opportunity to apply to other funding sources," said Rerrie. "Our projects address urgent, locally-defined needs."
Casa Pueblito faces challenges in all of its projects, however. The sustainable agriculture programme has proved to be one of the most challenging because of regular drought, unusually hot temperatures, climate change, and increases in extreme weather.
"This underscores the urgency and necessity of these types of projects. Communities are eager to find ways to be more resistant to climate change and to push back against the types of harmful agricultural practices that have damaged the environment in the past. The challenge of a changing climate also presents an opportunity for our communities to champion small-scale, diverse agriculture," explained the director.
Looking back on her experience, Goble says that Casa-Pueblito is a different kind of social champion in Latin America, helping those that would otherwise not get the help they need.