Sister Maria Marciano -
Champion for the Poor
Words to live by...At the end of our lives, all that remains is what we have done for God and for our brothers and sisters...
Sister Maria is a Brazilian, Catholic nun, who came to the Dominican Republic in 1992 and began her work in Vallejuelo. She was educated in Brazil with degrees in Civil Engineering, Hydrology Engineering, Agronomy, Veterinary Science, Economics and Business Administration. It is her belief that there are six axioms of a sustainable society; roads, water, housing/schools, academic/health education, agricultural/manufacturing productivity and fair trade. The standard of living and nutrition of families has improved through her empowerment of women and elimination of child labor in the fields. The economy of Vallejuelo is increasing through sister's efforts to access water, implement modern irrigation and agriculture techniques, tree planting and reforestation, family gardens and the export of diversified vegetables.
After the catastrophe in Haiti, Sister saw that it was time to expand her reaches into the neighboring area of Los Cacaos, Haiti. In this region, people often live on one meal of rice and beans per day. This area also had a very contaminated water supply which led to high incidences of cholera as many people fled Port-au-Prince after the earthquake. Much of her efforts since the earthquake have been focused on clean water, schools and roads for this very mountainous, land-locked, rural area.