Our history

The Friends of Morazán charity was born out of a voluntary association called Bristol Link with Nicaragua (BLINC) which was set up in Bristol in 1985 to develop a link with Puerto Morazán.

After spending four months working as a volunteer in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua in 1990, current Friends of Morazán treasurer Tom Hore became a member of BLINC in 1993. Tom had the idea of starting up an organization alongside BLINC that could pay to fund the three teachers’ salaries at the pre-school in Puerto Morazán. Though BLINC had been paying the teachers on an ad hoc basis for a few years, Tom thought it would be possible to raise the money needed annually for the teachers’ wages through events and standing orders, making the donation more sustainable.  Friends of Morazán was officially founded in May 1996 by Nic Townsend, Sue Mackinnon, Iraina Clarke, and Tom Hore.

In the mid-90’s, the salsa craze hit Bristol, and many people decided to take up salsa dancing for the first time. Most of the people enjoyed the dancing, but knew little about Nicaraguan politics, solidarity, or the revolution. Nic Townsend, one of the founding members of Friends of Morazán was a leading player in the salsa scene. The instructor of Nic’s salsa class suggested holding a benefit event to promote her business whilst raising money for Nicaragua. The success of this event inspired Friends of Morazán to join up with some of the salsa dancers to hold benefits and fundraisers on a regular basis to help raise money for Nicaraguan children. The salsa connection was very lucrative for the first two years. During that time, Friends of Morazán not only raised enough funds for two years of salaries, but they had enough money for two years in reserve to give the teachers an added measure of security. By then, Friends of Morazán had also generated a number of standing orders that contributed to the generous pool of funds.

Friends of Morazán continued to raise funds for about ten years through a variety of activities. After Hurricane Mitch hit Nicaragua in 1998, Friends of Morazán decided to have a salsa marathon down Whiteladies Road. They salsa danced the whole way, stopping in pubs and shops to request donations for the victims of the hurricane. Friends of Morazán talked for years about becoming an official charity, and finally in 2005, Tom Hore completed the paperwork for FoM to achieve registered charity status.

%d bloggers like this: