Leonor and her husband lost their jobs fighting for the rights of Nicaraguans living in desperate poverty. Supply Hope gave her family an opportunity when no one else would.
The thin curve of Leonor’s eyebrow turns sharp as she watches her story land on her listener. She knowingly anticipates your reaction because Leonor has told her story over and over to anyone who will listen. Despite her own financial need, Leonor is a dedicated advocate for women’s rights and access to education for Nicaraguans living in extreme poverty. She’s a leader in her community and a Mercado Fresco store operator for the past two years.
When Leonor was in high school, the Nicaraguan Youth Coalition under the United Nations Civil Rights Council recruited volunteers to advocate for a democratic system in a country with a history of dictatorship and oppression. Unpaid, these advocates would travel throughout Nicaragua to hear concerns of the rural poor, and organize people to have a voice in their government. At age 16, Leonor and her future husband José signed up immediately.
Leonor’s body tells the story of the last fourteen years of her activism. She points to the scar above her eye, when she was assaulted in opposition to an organized protest. Her arm was broken in three places when she was tracked down after attending a Youth Coalition meeting. The police report she filed on this incident has been unaddressed for six years.
While her most recent trauma didn’t leave a physical mark, it will forever be imprinted in Leonor’s memory. After numerous threatening phone messages, a man approached her as she left home, held a gun to her head, and said if she didn’t stop protesting, they would kill her and her family. Leonor didn’t back down, and he pulled the trigger. She says God was on her side because the gun miraculously didn’t fire. As Leonor tells these stories, she clings tightly to a framed certificate from the United Nations Civil Rights Council that reads “Woman of Courage.”
Leonor and her husband both lost their jobs fighting for the rights of Nicaraguans living in desperate poverty. Supply Hope gave her family an opportunity when no one else would hire them. Mercado Fresco is also enabling Leonor to spend more time with her first born baby daughter. She is proud of her ability to earn an income that provides for her baby’s food and improves their leaking roof.
She and her husband continue to be activists, dreaming of the day that change will come to their country. Leonor knows the power of her story and Mercado Fresco is helping her keep telling it.