Dani Johnson is on a Village-Building Mission for Nicaraguan Families

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2015) – Life for hundreds of families living in deteriorating homes built on top of a labyrinth of old gold-mining tunnels in Malpaisillo, León, Nicaragua, is no longer safe. León is located in the western department of Nicaragua and is a little more than 57 miles northwest of the capital city, Managua. Blasts from nearby active mining sites are causing these tunnels to crumble, triggering sink holes, which have claimed the lives of several people.

“We are tormented day and night by the blasts. We are so afraid that our house is going to go down into the ground that we take turns sleeping so that we can keep watch over our home and family,” said Pablo, a local resident. “Every time I hear that sound, I say ‘Oh my God, another person may have died’ and it is worse during the rainy season.”

Pablo and his wife Maria have lived in the mining community in León for more than 50 years, and now share their humble dwelling with their daughter Rosa, and her two sons.

Food For The Poor and the American Nicaraguan Foundation (ANF) had been working on securing safe land for these families when Dani Johnson, ABC Television’s “Secret Millionaire,” author, business and relationship expert, learned about their plight. Johnson, whose father is Nicaraguan, had visited her father’s homeland a few times, but traveled for the first time to the Central American country with Food For The Poor in January. Now she wants to help the international relief and development organization to build a village. So far, enough funds have been raised for the construction of 84 homes, but this is only the beginning of Johnson’s home building project for the Central American country.

“I feel like I wasn’t born here in Nicaragua for a purpose and that purpose was for me to come back and to help, not just my family, but as many people as possible,” said Johnson.

The Santa Pancha Village Community Development project will provide a new way of living for hundreds of Nicaraguan families. Each two-bedroom home comes with sanitation and a water component.  A community center also will be built in the central part of the village. Each family will receive two hens and a rooster, and be trained in self-sustaining projects.

“Food For The Poor has helped build thousands of homes, with the loving support of our donors, for destitute families living in some of the most deplorable conditions imaginable. The situation in León is really difficult, the people there are living in a constant state of crippling fear – it’s mental torture,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor.  “We’re so grateful that Dani Johnson has decided to work on another homebuilding project with Food For The Poor; it’s a priceless blessing she wants to provide for these families.”

Johnson’s journey with Food For The Poor began in December 2013, when she traveled to Haiti with the charity. During that trip, she saw what life was like in the remote community of Kadwa in Mirebalais. After speaking with some of the families living in unfathomable conditions, she made a promise to build a village of 70 two-bedroom homes and a sugar cane mill to provide economic growth for the entire region. Nearly one year to the date, Johnson returned to Haiti with Food For The Poor to see her promise fulfilled, and to find people and a community transformed.

"I feel like a human being. Before, I didn't have anything, not even a place for my child to sleep. Now, I can hold my head high in the community because I have my own home and a safe place for my family," said Cesar Salomon, a Kadwa, Haiti, resident.

Each family also received a solar kit, which includes solar panels that can power three accompanying lamps. Click www.FoodForThePoor.org/danihaiti to see Johnson’s mission trip to Haiti 2014.

“Returning at the end of the year and seeing the elation of that entire village in Haiti was amazing, but this time around with Food For The Poor and King’s Ransom, the project in Nicaragua will be even more dynamic because I know what’s coming and I know what I am going to see when I come back,” said Johnson. “I can’t wait to hand them the keys. We are months away from their brand new safe homes and a new life – that’s exciting!”

Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Wanda Wright

Food For The Poor
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079