Reporter: James Gherardi l Videographer: R.J. Burnette
Halifax, VA - A Halifax County woman given more than 500 children in Nicaragua the opportunity to go to school.
When she returned from a mission trip in 2007, Jennifer Chappell created the organization, "Save them, one by one," a group dedicated to changing the lives of the extremely poor and disadvantaged in more than 10 rural villages in Nicaragua. To date, they've sponsored more than 500 students, and her work has only continued to grow.
"My heart just broke for the people. They are extremely poor, people there usually live on less than $1 a day," said Chappell.
Nevertheless, the Nicaraguan government requires that all students wear a certified uniform, the proper shoes, and have all the appropriate school supplies.
"Without them being able to provide for their families, food and that type of thing, school supplies and school uniforms are really, pretty much out of the picture," she said.
Chappell began a school sponsorship program asking friends and family to pay $25 for a child to attend school.
"We started with 120 children, and I thought, wow, this is almost impossible. And now we have 512 children in our ministry, in our program," she said.
"I am so lucky, if I can say that. And I am so thankful to Jennifer too, because she helped me to get here," said Lester Ramirez, Chappell's first sponsored student.
Now 21, he lives and works in Halifax County.
"Having an education will open doors for these children in the future. If they don't have an education, there isn't much that they can do," said Ramirez.
Chappell's work continues to grow, now sponsoring two addition programs, beads and baskets of love where 10 Nicaraguan women make beaded necklaces and one, very talented girl, weaves hand-made baskets to be sold back in the U.S.
"They're so generous, they're so kind, they really are. They have nothing to give you but love, and the love that they show you is just amazing."
To date, including sponsorship, Chappell has raised nearly $100,000.
If you'd like to help Save Them One by One, or sponsor a child, visit the website.