Yesterday was officially the last day of the school year here in Nicaragua, so there will be lots of excited children about. Although that was the last day of classes, the next few days are filled with graduations, at three levels. From kindergarten to primary school, (cute for the kids and the parents), from 6th grade, completion of primary school, (an important event, 10 years ago only 30% of the children here got that far) and the big event, the high school graduations. (we will be attending).
This is such a major step up for students in the poorest barrios, so many of them acheiving this as a first in their families. The pride of their parents is a wonderful thing to see, and we wish them all the greatest success.
If you want to be part of it, our sponsorship programs for high school students and our scholarship programs for university students are explained in our website – here is the link to the appropriate page: http://www.la-
Our focus is so clearly on education, particularly education where children are living in poverty, and sometimes it is easy to forget all the other problems that assail people in the barrios. Not only poverty, but things such as losing a job, losing a loved one, divorce and family break ups. All of these things still have to be dealt with even when you are scratching to put food on the table. Last year I heard of a family break up where a child was moving from the other side of town to live with a new stepmother in Nueva Esperanza. It struck a cord with me as we had often moved when I was a child, and the young girl, 11 years old, may as well have been moving to the other side of the country – the far side of town would be so remote from her former neighborhood for her. I knew of her story as her family has connections with one of our employees. Today I heard that Maria Mercedes, now 12, is doing really well. She has completed grade 5 with good marks, and is very happy with lots of friends at school and in her new area. We have all heard the story of how a homeless man, given food, was willing to share with a passing beggar. Maybe it is the same with children who have so little, they are more willing to share their friendship with a new arrival. Not to romantacize poverty, but I have learned a lot from the spirit of cooperation in the barrios here.
Some of our volunteers led by Stien Frassen and Rose Braisher have made a video showing a day in the life of a volunteer. It is really interesting to see their work, and their play – here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/
Volunteers here at present are Lidia Carbo Sanchez, Ines Moran franques, Josep Maria Marti Elias, Elodie Fischetti, Cloe Moran, Camille Aumont, Robin Leloup, Camille Lemercier, Annina Fink, Miriam den Toom, Iraide Paredes Baglietto, Izaskun Villagarcia Pinto, Robert trainor Zintl, Maximiliam Benjamin Richmond, Arkaitz Iturregi Barandika, Stien Franssens, Rose Braisher, Marilene Stenz, Antonia grasshoff, Miriam Ayre, Maja Klostermann, and Justine McCoy.
A former volunteer Benjamin Brough visited this month, Benjamin brought a big bag of things we can give to children as prizes, and also made a PayPal donation of $655 he had raised to help. You will see other donations brought by current volunteers in the photo link, along with the toys we received from Maya Foundation in Spain that were presented at Pablo Antonio Cuadra School, Salomon de la Selva School, and the Amped Center. We will be sharing the balance of the toys with the children at our learning centers on the Friday before Christmas. Here is the link to some pictures:
And a bit more reading for you, in the latest blog by Stien Frassens who is doing an internship with us about house building in the barrio of Nueva Esperanza: http://