Austin, TX, February 19, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- Jennifer Simonson has spent all her vacation time during the past 15 years traveling Latin America experiencing both its colorful culture and the poverty that lies underneath.
Wanting to highlight the cultures and help alleviate some to the poverty, Simonson recently launched the Esperanza Market, a social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of women and children living in Nicaragua’s impoverished communities.
The online marketplace sells purses and yoga bags made by hand in Nicaragua. They work directly with artisans, mostly women, to provide them with regular employment and fair wages. For each bag sold the company donates a solar-powered lamp to students in those communities who live in homes without reliable electricity.
“Esperanza means Hope in Spanish. I wanted to create a website that shares all these amazing handmade bags and purses with my friends in the United States and also raise awareness of some of the problems facing our neighbors to the south,” she said. “I started in Nicaragua because I know the country very well and because it is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, there is a lot of need for help.”
One-third of the Nicaragua’s population lives without reliable electricity. Some of the population lives off the electric grid, while others might have access to electricity, but can’t afford to use it. Families without energy rely on burning candles, wood or kerosene for light, which can be expensive, flammable and can cause poor air quality.
Esperanza Market distribute solar-powered reading lamps to students in efforts to improve education by providing students with light to read and do homework once the sun goes down. They started with Education Plus Nicaragua, a school in the Pantanal barrio outside of Granada. Pantanal started as a refugee camp outside the tourist mecca of Granada. It has 13,000 residents, 8,000 are children. There are no paved roads running water and electricity is very limited. The children of this area are vulnerable for child prostitution, criminal activity and glue sniffing.
Since its launch in November 2015, the Esperanza Market has donated 100 solar-powered lamps.
Esperanza Market is an online store selling purses and yoga bags made by hand in Nicaragua. Each bag is made by a small group of artisans, mostly women, who are paid Fair Trade wages, not just minimum wages. For each bag sold, the company donates a solar-powered light to one of the hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguan children who live without electricity.