is an organization founded by Chi Doon Li, a Seattle Attorney, that helps impoverished Central Americans raise themselves to independence and dignity. It is a model based on solid principles that have proven to work. It involves investment of money and personal involvement to establish villages of motivated families. It has a beginning and an end, the end being the point when the village is sustainable. Agros International is a Seattle based non-profit that has helped over 10,000 Central Americans move out of poverty. Survival as a poor, rural farmer is brutal but thousands have made progress in Agros sponsored communities.
The path to independence involves principles like equity (having an opportunity to purchase land), participation (identifying partners who will invest in and journey with a village), and sustainability (providing guidance with trained agronomists and economists).
Chi Dooh Li
is a Chinese man whose father was a diplomat to Guatemala during Mr. Li’s formative years. Having seen the suffering of the people there, he realized that these people needed a lively hood that would enable them to excape poverty and live in dignity. He came up with the idea of raising money to buy arable land that would be sold to families that would be taught how to farm, and to manage their own village. The money is used to buy and develop the land, establish wells and other infrastructure as needed create the village and help the families to become successful farmers. This requires not only money, but personal involvement. The personal involvement comes from the combination of Agros personnel and the clubs, churches and other groups who sponsor the villages. “Skip” Li started Agros in 1984 and since that time has helped over 10,000 individuals build new lives for themselves by facilitating land ownership and providing technical assistance, training, capital loans, and village infrastructure to support the work and vision of community members. Skip has written a book entitled Buy This Land that tells the story of his life, what motivated him to start Agros, and the concepts behind the idea.
Sammamish Rotary Involvement
Sammamish Rotary’s International Service Committee led the club to begin partnering with two Agros villages in Nicaragua; first in 2012, Luz del Manana and later in 2013, San Marcos de Belen. Sammamish Rotary has contributed funds for administrative support, healthcare, clean drinking water and crop irrigation. Additionally, Sammamish Rotary has sent teams of volunteers who have journeyed with these friends, providing encouragement and some field work alongside nearly 40 families.