Villa El Carmen, the largest municipality in Nicaragua, is home to more than 36,000 Nicaraguans. The vast majority of these people are living in poverty with little hope of change. According to the 2005 census, a measly 4403 residents of the area have stable jobs, and only 8141 rank as being economically active. Only 50% of those who begin first grade ever complete fifth grade, and health care options are minimal at best. The average Nicaraguan uses poor sanitation facilities, and at least 26% of women give birth without a doctor, nurse, or even a midwife available.
Hope and Development was founded in 2009, and its parent program CHESS has been active and working in Nicaragua since 2006. With 8 English teachers working in 13 different public schools we are currently reaching 1,721 students on a weekly basis through our English classes. In addition to the English program, our current programs include water filtration systems, teacher workshops, and community education initiatives.
In the past, our facilitators have led workshops for community members on topics such as domestic violence, healthy food consumption, and use and maintenance of water filtration units. Sports events, such as baseball clinics and volleyball tournaments, have been held as a means of both encouraging community interaction, as well as providing youth with organized athletic experiences. A total of 6 fences have been built and installed in the schools we partner with. These bring security as well as cleanliness to the schools by keeping wandering animals out and allowing schools to successfully plant vegetable gardens. Mini libraries have been established in four of the schools, and schools have received donations of textbooks and computers that have enhanced the education and opportunities of the students.
Hope and Development continues to grow and work toward social change in a variety of ways. New initiatives and plans include a fence installation at yet another local school, community health and nuturition initiatives and education, as well as development of vocational training and internship opportunities. Future growth also includes expansion of the mini libraries, installation of energy solutions such as solar panels in schools that are currently without, and renovation of current water pumps and systems. Additional computer labs and teacher training to use the technology in their classrooms is also in the near future.
Through all of these programs, our ultimate goal is to bring about lasting social and economic change through education to this rural area of Nicaragua. To maintain the current English program and ongoing educational initiatives, we need to raise $45,000 yearly. This covers the salaries of a director, 3 facilitators, and 5 English teachers, as well as providing funding for 3 monthly workshops or sports programs . Additional programs and initiatives such as vocational education, purchase of student textbooks and supplies, and library expansion will require further funding.