In 2013, the Bazaar will be actively contributing to these excellent organizations, and we hope our patrons will help as well.

Get your coffee at the Bazaar and help build a home.
Habitat for Humanity

Bring some non-perishable food items and support the local work of:
Shepherds of Good Hope

Purchase a pumpkin or apple cider and support the good international work of:
Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders (MSF)

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Third World Bazaar Philanthropy

In 2013, the Bazaar will be actively contributing to these excellent organizations, and we hope our patrons will help as well.

Third World Bazaar Supports Local Business for Nicaraguan Youth

Bici-Futuro Reporting from Sabana Grande Jessie Lyon, Feb 20, 2013

I am sitting amongst the activity of Sabana Grande's Solar Centre, a large off-grid adobe building. Outside its open doors, looking past the glare of solar ovens, I can see La Casita Solar, an open-concept restaurant powered by biogas, solar ovens and solar panels. In between the two buildings one thousand adobe bricks dry in the sun. In a month these bricks will form a third structure for a youth centre. The Pan-American Highway roars past this rare site as green mountains roll around it. I see Latin cowboys, banana trees, and cows with huge, prehistoric horns. Walking by is a group of women with yellow and pink umbrellas for the sun. Inside this workshop, I am surrounded by five young Nicaraguans assembling nine new bicycles for rent. Between the constant slew of Nica slang ("¡si hombre!") and the clanging of wrenches, there is being born in this village a new micro-enterprise: Bici-Futuro.


My name is Jessie Lyon, and I am an intern for Falls Brook Centre's international internship program. My placement landed me in Nicaragua's rural north, a breezy, spacious place populated with small and strong communities. I work for Grupo Fenix, a Nicaraguan NGO supporting Sabana Grande as a solar community, and its associated organizations Las Mujeres Solares de Totogalpa, a twenty-woman cooperative, and Jovenes Pedaliando Hacia el Futuro (JHPF), a youth group. These three represent a combined, multi-generational effort for environmental awareness, environmental action through demonstration and local, self-sustainable employment for their community.

With a generous sponsorship from the Third World Bazaar, Los Jovenes and I were able to purchase bicycles and all necessary parts to start a bicycle rental company for volunteers and tourists. This place breeds ambitious and clever youth, but with no budget it is difficult for them to lead financially-productive projects. The Bazaar sponsorship ignited an interesting and trendy idea these fourteen young people are excited about, and an initiative that follows the values and interests of both JPHF and the Third World Bazaar.

While it is beginning to take on a life of its own, Bici-Futuro is a valuable addition to JHPF's sustainable, rural, community tourism project and a nation-wide push to boost Nicaragua's tourism industry. JHPF is using these bikes and Sabana Grande's maze of back-country trails to host educational and recreational bicycle tours. Bici-Futuro offers clients day, week or month-long rentals to explore this lush, dry tropical forest. There are hints of Canada's expansive, thick boreal forests here, until an iguana saunters by and you realize you are far from home.


"Muchos gracias a Third World Bazaar por apoyar a la empresa de bicicletas. El grupo usara este pequeño negocio para hacerse sostenible. Bici-Futuro dirige nuestro proyecto de turismo comunitario rural."

(Thank you very much to Third World Bazaar for supporting the bicycle business. With this sponsorship, our group can use this small business to become financially independent. Bici-Futuro is leading our community rural tourism project.)

Jennifer Perez Sanchez, Bici-Futuro Treasurer

This for-profit project compliments JPHF's other projects, each with its own strategy to alleviate environmental problems. They host cultural soirees with traditional story-telling, music and dancing, and community movie screenings projected on white sheets in the Solar Center. They deliver presentations in local elementary schools. They produce and install bottle lights in darker homes. A popular focus is the 'blender' bikes and 'generator' bikes. A continual, two-year history has brought many different participants and ideas.

It is such a pleasure for me to witness Los Jovenes constantly changing and adapting. They took to the bicycle rental idea immediately and, while development initiatives usually experience slow and steady progress, Bici-Futuro has grown quickly in the past month. Already this project has attracted an online journal and an American entrepreneur interested in a youth exchange. International travel is certainly rare for Nicas in this area. Hosting interviews with writers and experiencing the world of business for the first time, these young people are meeting larger ideas and bigger opportunities.

It started in January 2013, when a local distributor Eduardo Diaz made the eight-hour round trip to Nicaragua's capital Managua to purchase nine bicycles for us. JPHF member Marcel and I took a trip to the nearby city Ocotal to buy inner tubes, chain grease and all the tools necessary for repair. Currently, we are concentrating on setting prices, record-keeping, managing work hours and dealing with our first clients. With the always supportive and encouraging Cooperativa and Grupo Fenix staff, there are proposals for bike rentals being included for new volunteers and solar workshop attendees. This has become a true community-based development project. Most important, this still-new project is proving to be self-sustainable, avoiding the common development trap of dependency.

The contribution of the Third World Bazaar has created a dynamic new element to this community. Rural Nicaragua lacks employment opportunities, and though operating on a micro-level, Bici-Futuro demonstrates an example of what is possible. It offers small-time employment, but most important, it shows one way to start self-employment. Also notable is the communal nature of this new for-profit. A portion of the income is being set aside in a reserve fund for repair and maintenance while surplus profits are collected into an education account for Los Jovenes members. Approaching this community with a North American business sense, it is interesting to see my approach integrate with Nicaraguan socialist culture.

During my six-month stay here, I have watched volunteers flow through the Solar Centre with different skills and focuses. I see designs for smokeless stoves, new solar ovens, additions to the restaurant's organic garden, solar panel installations. I see solar distillers, fruit tree orchards and solar-powered battery recharger workshops. It is so fun to facilitate a contribution from a celebrated local business from my hometown to the beginning of a local business abroad. Thank you Third World Bazaar for making it possible for one small business to help another!

Note for visitors to Nicaragua.

There is now a new inexpensive transit option in Northern Nicaragua. If you want to see this interesting, traditional and rarely visited part of the country, connect with the Los Jovenes youth group and tour the back country on their bicycles!!!

List of organizations that have been involved in the Bici-Futuro project.

Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders

All cider and pumpkin revenue will go to MSF, and will be matched by the Bazaar.

MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES (MSF) is the world's leading independent medical relief organization. Their mandate is primarily focused on emergency relief and they often operate in areas where there is no medical infrastructure. For over 35 years they have been providing medical help to people caught in armed conflicts, floods, earthquakes, disease epidemics and famines. MSF has maintained their international reputation as one of the most respected, honest and well run aid organization.

Our niece, Asha provides a personal connection to this worthy organization. Asha has worked with MSF since 2003 and in Canada, Uganda, Indonesia, Ivory Coast and now Barcelona.

We welcome any contribution you can make to the efforts of MSF. The owners of Third World Bazaar will match any contribution that patrons make. We challenge our customers to contribute as much as they feel comfortable donating.

Over the last 8 years the Third World Bazaar, and our customers have been able to contribute between $4,500 and $8,000 a year. This year we hope to surpass the $8,000 figure again. Please give generously to this worthy organization.

Medecins Sans Frontieres Website

Shepherds of Good Hope

All non-perishable food brought to the Bazaar will be delivered to the Shepherds. Please bring what you can.

Since 1983 the Shepherds of Good Hope have been providing food, lodging, emotional and spiritual support to anyone that comes to them. They provide an invaluable service to the poor and troubled of Ottawa, and by helping deal with these problems are providing a service for all of us in the area. We thank them for their invaluable work.

Each weekend the Third World Bazaar will be collects food and consumables for the Shepherds. We ask that our customers consider bringing non-perishable donations to the Bazaar, which we will deliver that week. Each year our collection rate has increased, in 2008 it was about 8 shopping carts worth, in 2009, about 11 and in 2010 it was over 15 full shopping carts of food . Thank you!

Shepherds of Good Hope Website

Habitat for Humanity - Chris Tessier and Jill Woodley.

Thanks to the coffee drinkers of Third World Bazaar, over the last four years we have been able to help build home for six families in Nicaragua and El Salvador. These families have waited years to realize the dream of owning a home and we are grateful for the donations we receive through the coffee fundraising initiative.

In 2011 we once again joined our team of 24 Habitat for Humanity volunteers and embarked on our first trip to Nicaragua. Little did we know that we would be the first Canadian team to build in this country through Habitat for Humanity. This would be our 4th Habitat build, but the first with our eldest daughter, Morgan. When we arrived to meet the families at the first build even the most experienced volunteers could not escape seeing through Morgan's eyes. Never having experienced such poverty, she was overwhelmed and choked back the tears that come when one realizes how much we have, and how much we take for granted. In November of last year we built two homes, and helped families in La Gallina prepare new build sites.

This year we are returning to Nicaragua to build in the mountainous region of Esteli; 150 kms north of Managua. Joining us will be our 16 year old daughter Grace. We will be building up to 3 homes this year and she will be a key contributor. It is an experience we know she will not soon forget, and will resonate throughout her lifetime. We are inspired by her desire join us on this journey and her enthusiasm around challenging herself.

Joining the team comes with the responsibility of funding the building supplies for each home. Fundraising to help us realize the building of up to 3 homes is essential. The Third World Bazaar donates the coffee and provides a central place to sell it. All donations go directly to the build and we will be at the Bazaar for 6 weeks through October and November. Over the last 3 years an INCREDIBLE $4400 has been raised through coffee donations. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for a cause that has become an important part of our lives. We are so grateful to the people who donate to our build and help us support families in rural Nicaragua who will have a new home for Christmas.

Our deepest thanks to the Third World Bazaar and their tireless support in helping us make these builds a reality. Please read our blog here.

With sincere thanks,
Chris, Jill and Grace Woodley-Tessier
Nicaragua 2012

6110 Mitch Owens Drive, Manotick Station, Ontario K4M 1B2 - Click here for Directions

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