THE WINDOW: Building Homes in Nicaragua with Barneys’ Ashley Calandra

Our VP of PR and Events was part of a trip that helped poverty-stricken families by building more than 20 homes in the town of El Panamá, Masaya, Nicaragua.

Our VP of PR and Events was part of a trip that helped poverty-stricken families by building more than 20 homes in the town of El Panamá, Masaya, Nicaragua.

As much as we love finding the perfect holiday gift, this time of year also calls to mind a different kind of giving: working to help those in need. For Barneys as a whole, that means using our #LovePeaceJoyProject campaign to support a few of our favorite organizations through the Barneys New York Foundation, but individual members of our team have also been doing their own part to give back. Today, we take a look at one such effort with our VP of PR & Events, Ashley Calandra, who spent her Thanksgiving in Nicaragua helping one very special family by building them a new home.

Ashley’s journey was the result of a partnership among three organizations coming  together to make a profound difference in the lives of Nicaraguan families in poverty-stricken communities. Members of CRAD, an immersive adults-only “summer camp,” joined together with JOURNEY, an organization whose mission is to create a new generation of travelers that are driven to address the needs of our world through “Conscious Travel.” The last piece of the puzzle came via Techo, a youth led non-profit organization that seeks to overcome poverty by pairing families in Latin America and the Caribbean with youth volunteers. The three group joined together to build more than 20 homes over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Barneys VP of PR and Events, Ashley Calandra, along with the children of the Calero family in their nearly completed new home.

Barneys VP of PR and Events, Ashley Calandra, along with the children of the Calero family in their nearly completed new home.

“I think what made this trip so special was that it afforded us the opportunity to really immerse ourselves in the culture and community that we were there to help,” Calandra tells us of the experience. “It was inspiring to travel with friends, both old and new, that had a shared purpose and were hoping to make a difference.”

After a few days spent at Aqua in Redonda Bay getting to know each other—not to mention having a beachfront Thanksgiving dinner—the CRAD journeyers made their way to El Panamá, Masaya, where they joined forces with Techo and were introduced to the families whose homes they’d be helping to build. For Ashley, it was the Calero family—an extended family consisting of five adults and four children—who had all been sharing a single 4mX8m home with no running water or sewage system.

I don’t think there is anything that could have really prepared me for what I would see or how I would feel during this experience,” she tells us. “At the end of the day, we’re all human beings who are deserving of adequate and safe living environments, so to see these conditions firsthand was saddening and eye opening.

#CRADBACK TO NICARAGUA 2016 

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