A spiritually-based humanitarian organization, the North Country Mission of HopeSM began in 1998 as a direct ministerial response to the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Mitch on the impoverished villages of Chiquilistagua and Monte Verde in Nicaragua.

The first mission team immediately recognized that direct, long-term assistance was vital in order to improve the lives of the people. Working hand-in-hand with local community leaders, the Mission’s primary objective is to empower the people to help themselves through Orphan’s Hope Project , ECO , Education , Community Development , and Healthcare projects. In addition, Mission of Hope enlightens local student and adults in Plattsburgh, NY to the conditions and needs of the poor.

It was unfortunate, then, when an earthquake hit North Country Mission of Hope’s base in Nicaragua in the summer of 2014. Two hospitals were condemned, one school building was deemed “structurally deficient,” and an orphanage was left with massive holes in the roof just as rainy season was set to start, according to a story in The Press Republican.

Dominican Sister of Hope Debbie Blow, who has been the Executive Director of North Country Mission of Hope since 2001, expressed concern as she assessed the damage from recent earthquakes that affected the humanitarian-aid organization’s structures.

“I’m not sure what they will do,” Sister Debbie said. “A wall partially collapsed between (Nino Jesus) church and convent area. There are huge holes in the roof of the girls’ dorm. It definitely needs some attention.”

“I’m not sure what they will do,” Sister Debbie said. “A wall partially collapsed between (Nino Jesus) church and convent area. There are huge holes in the roof of the girls’ dorm. It definitely needs some attention.”

In the wake of destruction, though, there is hope. Although two hospitals that benefit from Mission of Hope assistance were destroyed in the quake, the equipment and furnishings donated through Mission of Hope to those facilities had been moved out of the buildings to be used at the new locations. One of the hospitals will set up elsewhere (though in a facility too small to meet demand for care).

Moreover, “attention” is en route. A large group of volunteers arrived in Nicaragua in July to help make structural repairs to a safehouse for women in Managua that, Sister Debbie said, “is in desperate need of repair.”

Additionally, a North Country couple has donated $10,000 to help with this effort, with $5,300 allocated to make structural repairs to the walls and roof. In addition to a new roof, the building will also see refurbished bedrooms.

The loss of facilities is, no doubt, upsetting; but as volunteers and donors help to rebuild the affected area, Sister Debbie and all of the North Country Mission of Hope are optimistic about the future.

“It’s such a dream coming to life,” Sister Debbie said about giving at-risk women and their children a safe refuge, “for the mission to assist in this area.”

Cover Photo: Flickr: Feed My Starving Children