Manuel was the first person to believe in Casa Congo. He is a community leader who is passionate about nature and conservation and extremely knowledgeable about the ocean. Manuel has worked for conservation NGOs and fisheries, he now leads the Brigada Ecologica and works as a research assistant and tour guide in the protected area of the Chacocente Rainforest. His dream is to have a positive impact on the natural resources of his home.
The Brigada Ecologica is a team of young environmentalists who want to inspire their community to protect the local environment. The group is working with Casa Congo to research and conserve the natural resources of El Astillero and Chacocente.
They have fun hiking in the field, bird watching, collecting plant specimens, making products and art with recycled plastic. They take direct action in conservation by supporting MARENA (Nicaraguan environmental government body) with the operation of a sea turtle nursery.
The goal of Casa Congo is to develop and experiment with sustainable practices and try to introduce these practices as a viable option for development in the local community.
Our team of Carpinteros form the local Built Environments team. Deybin, Mauriel and Yumar were the first to join our team, via sustainable construction workshops with our partners at Arquitectura Mixta, they acquired the skills that were used to construct our Casa Congo headquarters in Astillero.
Anielka is a local single mother of three: Osman, Lea and Eliana, all of whom are involved in our programs. Her knowledge of vermiculture and medicinal plants sparked our collaboration, and the worm bin we started together continues to produce healthy soil, yet her own garden continued to struggle because her fence made from old fishing net was not strong enough to keep the pigs out. So we developed the apprenticeship program in order to combine an education with financial help. She now coordinates the apprenticeship program, finding new apprentices, managing the garden at the ‘El Buen Gusto’ smoothie bar, and working at the Centre of Agroecology.
With his love for surfing and incredible talent, Jonathan was an obvious choice as a surf instructor for Casa Congo. He worked closely with Adam Tory, a surf instructor from Tofino Canada, to learn the tricks of the trade and now he runs our surf school and provides surf lessons to tourists and volunteers. As a young surfer, he continues to show great dedication to his craft and often ends up on the podium during national competitions, hopefully his students will join him there in the future.
Meet our groms! They come every morning to receive lessons from Johnathan and usually show up half a hour before because they can't hold their stoke. They are the future of the surfing in El Astillero and we are so happy to give them the possibility of enjoying this beautiful sport and the ocean which is only few steps from their homes!
These wonderful women make the best bread in town! We have provided them with the financial and business support to opportunity to start their own bakery. This helps both of these mothers to support their large families, as well as supply fresh nutritious food to the community.
The Tejedoras, which means "The Weavers" are a collective of 19 local women in El Astillero who began their initiative of weaving recycled plastic bags into beautiful bags and wallets, in 2007.
Originally, their idea for an upcycling business that was also a women’s group was not well received by the community, however over the past 11 years they have persevered, relying on the strength of each other to become a strong positive impact in Astillero.
These women have become leaders and role models to the younger generation of girls, showing them that anything is possible when you set your mind to it. The Tejedoras are funny and passionate, and we learn so much from working with them.
These are the kids that are in Casa Congo all day except when they have school. They enjoy drawing, listening to readings, making bracelets, dancing and playing in the garden. We provide snacks, play equipment, english classes and friendship.