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Inspiring Conversations with Anais Santos de Nieto of Builders Charity

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anais Santos de Nieto.

Hi Anais, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Having an orphanage or charity has been one of my biggest “dreams” since I was 8 years old.

I always say it’s my dream but I’m 100% sure it is God’s dream and He shared it with me. I’m from a beautiful Island called Margarita. There are beautiful beaches, welcoming people, and great food. It’s always summer and I miss my island so much! We work with three villages on my home island of Margarita.

Seven years ago, I moved from Venezuela to the USA, with my husband, my baby girl, and 2 big suitcases. We packed our dreams, hopes, and memories and started over from nothing, my country was starting to fall apart. ⁠ I could never forget about those who remained in Venezuela, the reason why I created Builders Charity, and every day I work from home, and different coffee shops around Jacksonville, FL.

To keep all our great projects going, with all the grammar errors and fears that I have to face and overcome every day when I ask for help, to keep extending our hands to children and families in my country. ⁠ It’s been a beautiful journey and I’m very excited about what God has in store.⁠

Happily wearing all the hats and growing in every step. Always making connections and chasing opportunities for funding and growth.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Obstacles yes! They have never ceased but neither have we ceased learning from them and overcoming them in order to move on. I remember that the number one obstacle I faced was that in the United States in order to register a foundation and collect donations that are tax-free for the people that are donating, you have to pay a fee.

I needed a 501c3 (that was the document needed) and it costs around $570, and I didn’t have that amount available, I was at home with both of my children studying, it was my husband who supported us. We were doing much better than at the beginning, but we still had a long way to go.

But as God doesn’t fail, I thought of one of the elders in my church at Jacksonville, with whom I´d had the opportunity to serve before, he is in charge of a spectacular outreach program and I knew he´d understand me. By no means was I expecting him to donate everything, I was praying that he would want to join the cause and if it was possible to help with a portion of the amount needed for the 501c3.

As the sermon ended one day at church, I went to talk to him, I was shaking, I asked him if we could talk and he said YES!!! I went home to prepare a flyer with the information from Builders to open a diner and low and behold… the day came… we met, he read everything, he asked questions… and said: “I will pay the fee for the 501c3, just let me know when you need it.”

I will be forever grateful to Mark Custer, his help marked a before and after for Builders as an organization and consequentially for many families in Venezuela. Builders are born with a heart to bring light, hope, and salvation to families with hard situations, some living in extreme poverty.

And we truly wholeheartedly believe that if we pay attention to the beginning of the story we´ll be able to change the story for the better, for WAY better.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Builders Charity?
We are a charity located in Jacksonville, FL, working with and for children living under the poverty line in Venezuela. The humanitarian crisis in the country it’s beyond what I could explain in words and how is affecting children and families it’s very sad.

Currently, we work in 4 different villages, located in Venezuela, serving about 250 children on weekly basis, and we believe 100% that if we pay attention to the beginning of the story we can change the whole story for the better.

We focus on food, education, and bringing Jesus.

Every day from Monday to Saturday the children have access to food after school. Once a year by the end of September we equip them to go to school with all the school supplies and shoes they need, and last but not least, once a week they all get together to learn about a Christian value, a story from the Bible. and the truth that we believe will make a difference in their lives.

Every year we have a new amazing project to elevate and take to the next level of our outreach in every village. For example Our big project for 2022 it’s to buy or build and restore a property so we can have a house in every village to build a community, rain or shine, to share the meal with the children around a table, to play some soccer with them, to offer them guidance with school or emotional assistance.

This year we are working on an amazing project to serve/assist the Hispanic community, specifically children coming into the U.S.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
One of my favorite childhood memories was one day when I was turning 7 years old my mom blindfolded my eyes and sat me on the couch of my house, told me to reach my arms, and start making a tower of boxes.

Each box had a gift that meant a lot to me. She really wanted to connect with my heart and talked about my love languages.

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