Telma Teresa Barahona coordinates the COFOA ministry in her church, San Juan Evangelista, San Juan Telezontes. Telma says that her organizing has given her a new way to put her faith in action and work for the common good of all, and also is helping to develop leaders in her church and community.
Telma is single, and supports herself and her elderly mother as a public attorney and work with the court. She says that COFOA helps bring the whole community together and connect the church to the community in a meaningful way. Telma was very happy to see the great turnout for their candidate’s forum that extended beyond her church to the wider community and other evangelical churches.
San Juan Tepezontes is a town of about 7000 people that is perched on top of a mountain. Most people make money through agriculture, growing corn, beans, millet, and rice as well as fruit trees and some coffee. It is quite a poor area and there are not many opportunities to earn a living.
Telma is very proud of the work that their leadership team has done in the last two years. Some of the members have to walk for over an hour to get to their weekly meetings. One of their early actions was to put pressure on the local health ministry to respond to their many concerns about the quality of care. After research meetings at the regional level, the local clinic coordinator was removed and a new one was brought in who is very responsive and cooperative. Not only is he working with the leaders on a public health campaign, he has managed to get an ambulance for the community that is available 24/7.