Global Staff Spotlight: Felicita Rodriguez
Written by Plant With Purpose on September 18, 2014 in General, Staff Spotlight
Plant With Purpose’s in-country programs are run by nationals who are highly talented and bring a passion to serve the people of their countries. Over the next couple of months we will be highlighting some of these individuals who make up our diverse Plant With Purpose team. First up, Felicita Rodriguez in the Dominican Republic.
Felicita Rodriguez, or more affectionately known as Estela, has been working with Plant With Purpose Dominican Republic for over twenty-five years and is one of Plant With Purpose’s oldest employees.
Estela was drawn to Plant With Purpose because she was intrigued by the holistic approach to preserving the environment. She says, “This vision was harmonious with my call to service.” Her commitment as the Director of Economic Development leaves her feeling satisfied and grateful for the work being accomplished in rural communities, and the communities respond with thanks for the support of Plant With Purpose. Because of the lives she’s seen changed, Estela is not finished yet.
Genara Cristina Adames is a young mother of four who has forever impacted Estela – and vice versa. Genara’s story is an example of how Plant With Purpose makes a lasting difference in families’ lives. Before partnering with Plant With Purpose, daily life in the community of El Aguacero was challenging. Genara faced depression as she struggled to meet the basic needs of her family. But with the support of Plant With Purpose she found economic and spiritual restoration through a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) group that introduced her to the culture of savings.
Genara shares that she can now afford to graduate and finish her degree. She has started a homework club for children in her community and can pay for the necessary school supplies for her own children. She’s made home improvements such as buying a computer, a washing machine, and furniture, significant purchases in her rural village. Genara’s savings even covered the medical costs when she had her fourth child. “I feel more fulfilled and have better self esteem after Plant With Purpose guided us in saving,” she says.
The communities of Tocoa and Los Mogotes are also experiencing transformation. Before Plant With Purpose there was little economic development, but now both communities are prospering through producing and exporting sustainably harvested wood. Testimonies of gratitude from these communities indicate that families are able to satisfy health, education, and living needs. These communities also report increased unity and solidarity among neighbors.
Transformation seen in El Aguacero, Tocoa, and Los Mogotoes is holistic. Estela explains that the three-part approach of environmental preservation, economical empowerment, and spiritual restoration develops the entire person. “The spiritual: peace with God and living in fellowship with others; the economics: satisfying basic needs; and the environment: a suitable place to develop life.”
As Plant With Purpose celebrates its 30th anniversary, Estela opens up about her prayers for the future: “That God will abundantly bless Plant With Purpose Dominican Republic and grant us wisdom and resources to continue the transformational work of communities and to extend this work to communities wishing to improve their living conditions.”
Help staff members like Estela reach additional communities by supporting our 30th anniversary campaign “Give to Grow.” For $1,000, rural families can establish a fully functioning, income-generating farm on their property. Any size gift will help!