Nicaraguan Dolls

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

People from all across the Midwest were in Wausau Sunday for the 24th Annual Central Wisconsin Doll and Toy Show sale, but it was more than just fun and games. As we found out, one dealer at Sunday's show is giving women in Nicaragua the chance to lead a better life.

From Jackie O. to little John John Junior, several celebrities were in Wausau this weekend for the Central Wisconsin Doll Show. Maybe not the stars themselves, but ceramic versions of them along with dolls and toys from 36 vendors.

"One of them looks like me," said show-goer Heather Wiza, "and her name is Annabelle and I got her for Christmas last year."

But behind the miniature dresses and dollhouses was one vendor whose passion for dolls is more than just a hobby.

Chica Nica, a program that combines the financial power of central Wisconsin with the work ethic of Nicaraguan farm communities, has been helping women in that country get ahead.

"Now we eat everyday and that's a pretty powerful thing," said Sherin Bowen, Wisconsin Nicaragua program, "We eat everyday when before that they didn't."

The Wisconsin side of the Wisconsin Nicaragua program has been sending supplies down to the women in Central America for the past six years, so that the Nicaraguans can make doll dresses for sale in the U.S.

It's not a hand out, but a hand up, says Bowen, whose seen the program go from a small operation to a project with more than seventy sewing centers in the central American country.

And the product is pleasing to its customers.

"They make them really well in Nicaragua," said show-goer Rose Bowen. "I like this one, pink is my favorite color and I like flowers and this is a really nice design.""

Putting out a quality product and helping a country stand on its own. The rewards for Bowen's dedication to Chica Nica.

"People will say to me 'what are you doing?' You can't do that in this world.' said Sherie Bowen. "But if everyone does just a little bit, we have a better world."

Another side note on the doll show, all the proceeds from the event will go to Altrusa Interantional, an organization that donates time and money to the Wausau area.

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