Secondary School Construction

Target Start Date: March 01, 2011
$12,000 total cost
$10,860 still required

Project Description:

Change for Children, in collaboration with Centro Humboldt, a Nicaraguan based social environmental NGO, and local Miskito and Mayagna indigenous organizations, will build a 5-classroom secondary school in the community of Walakitang, where youth currently are without access to continuing their high school education.

Regional Context & Challenges:

Walakitang is the largest community in the indigenous territory of MITK in BOSAWAS, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in north-central Nicaragua. Walakitang, situated along the Coco River which forms the border between Honduras and Nicaragua, is home to over 800 families. The regional population consists of approximately 5000 people, 60% of whom are under the age of 18 years old.

For millennia, the BOSAWAS region has been home to the Miskito and Mayagna peoples, currently the most impoverished population in Central America. Malnutrition and infant mortality are rampant throughout the region. Isolation and lack of resources are blamed for the region’s abysmal literacy rates, the lowest in Nicaragua. Walakitang’s continuing high poverty rates stem from the lack of access to education. Although there is a primary school in the community, the nearest high school is 3.5 hours upstream in the village of San Andres. The majority of the secondary school level youth do not have the resources to travel and live close to a secondary school. Currently, a team of six primary school teachers offer instruction to secondary school students wherever they can find space (churches, small overcrowded homes, or in the shade of a tree or building).

Without access to secondary school, youth living in Walakitang are unable to pursue higher education at a post-secondary level, and become professionals in the areas of health, education, administration and community leadership. Walakitang, along with other villages in the BOSAWAS, are in great need of professionals working in these areas, particularly in relation to health, as there are very few nurses and doctors who are able to attend to the needs of the 32,000 people living in the region.

Impact:

The secondary school construction will promote community development in Walakitang and the BOSAWAS region in the areas of the Millennium Development Goals, including: universal education, ending poverty and hunger, community health, environmental sustainability and global partnership.

Our Partners:

Centro Humboldt is a Nicaraguan-based environmental organization that has been working in the BOSAWAS Biosphere since 1992 to build indigenous capacity and protect the rainforest ecosystem.

ADEPCIMISUJIN and MAKALANA Indigenous Associations have been representing Miskito-Mayagna peoples in the BOSAWAS for many years. In 2005, they succeeded in lobbying the Nicaraguan government for official rights to manage their traditional lands.

Both organizations have been working with Change for Children for over a decade to promote community development projects in the area of food security, indigenous capacity building, gender equality, economic diversification, education, health and water sanitation.

Budget:

The total cost of this school building project is $60,000.  Our goal through UEnd is to finance the cost of one classroom at $12000.

Update from the field: August 2012

In May 2012, a team of students from MacEwan University and the Ceiba Association, travelled with Change for Children to the village of San Andres, BOSAWAS, Nicaragua to help build two-rooms onto the existing high school in the community. Below is a testimony from team member, Paula Dean, about her reflections on the importance of school building and promoting education in the BOSAWAS region.

“We were there for a purpose - to engage in a cultural exchange and to help build a high school that would benefit hundreds of students in San Andres and surrounding communities. This purpose was the driving force that motivated me and pushed me to work hard alongside my team members and the community workers. Collecting rocks, hauling sand, making bricks, and mixing cement were our duties. It was difficult and extremely exhausting; however, instead of the children watching us exhaust ourselves in the heat, they would join us and help, and often times giggle at us for being so tired all the time. This is how many of the relationships developed between Project HOPE and the children in the community. We worked, but also participated in many activities together, including baseball, Frisbee, and making bracelets that were extremely popular. The joy and smiles from these children touched my heart and served as a reminder of how important projects like these are.

Education is important to the future generations of children in San Andres. It gives the children opportunities to learn, engage, and make important decisions for their community. Whether it is about agriculture, food security, or water sustainability, they can be participants and make decisions about these important issues.” – Paula Dean

To read Paula’s full-story – click here.

 

Update from the field: December 2011
 

For Tony Zelaya, a Miskito youth from the community of Tuburus in the BOSAWAS rainforest, the challenges of moving to Managua to pursue a high school education were immense (there was no access to high school in his school, at the time). He faced culture shock, discrimination from his classmates, and had to study extra hard to keep up in Spanish – a language second to his native tongue of Miskito. Today, Tony has gained recognition at his non-indigenous school for overcoming great barriers and achieving academic success. He lives alone in Managua, supported by his parents, and works hard to achieve his goal of graduating from high school and becoming a civil engineer or businessman. Despite his success in the city, Tony remains deeply nostalgic for the rainforest village where he grew up – dearly missing his Miskito friends and family. He longs to one day return to help his Miskito people.

Tony’s story is unique – most youth living in the remote BOSAWAS reserve would never be able to afford to travel outside the region, and thus, never receive a high school education. Change for Children’s high school construction project in Walakitang is crucial to building local capacity – educating young people to become community leaders and professionals, with the capacity to advocate for their people’s rights and realities. Change for Children hopes to raise the final amount needed for the school construction project by December 31, 2011 – with construction beginning in early 2012 (the dry season) and being completed shortly thereafter.

With your support, students like Tony won’t have to leave their communities to fulfill one of their most basic human rights – the right to education.

 

Update from the field: May 2011

On April 28th and 29th, 2011, Change for Children hosted the 5th Annual Video Conference to focus on education and school building in Walakitang. Through the power of video conference technology, over 500 students from Canada, the United States, and Nicaragua came together to share in culture and discuss the effects of globalization, while fundraising towards the construction of the high school in Walakitang.

Check out the event website: www.vcforhope.ning.com

Broadcast live from Nicaragua, Miskito indigenous youth shared their experiences of growing up in the BOSAWAS and migrating to Managua to attend high school and university. They spoke passionately about the negative impact of globalization on their indigenous languages, but also on the positives, including the increased international support for improving education and health in their communities.

All participating schools will be raising awareness of the socioeconomic situation in Walakitang, and fundraising towards the collective goal of building the 5-classroom in the remote community of the BOSAWAS, Nicaragua.

Change for Children anticipates early construction starting September – October 2011.

Video: Education & Preservation in the BOSAWAS

Update from the field: August 2012

In May 2012, a team of students from MacEwan University and the Ceiba Association, travelled with Change for Children to the village of San Andres, BOSAWAS, Nicaragua to help build two-rooms onto the existing high school in the community. Below is a testimony from team member, Paula Dean, about her reflections on the importance of school building and promoting education in the BOSAWAS region.

“We were there for a purpose – to engage in a cultural exchange and to help build a high school that would benefit hundreds of students in San Andres and surrounding communities. This purpose was the driving force that motivated me and pushed me to work hard alongside my team members and the community workers. Collecting rocks, hauling sand, making bricks, and mixing cement were our duties. It was difficult and extremely exhausting; however, instead of the children watching us exhaust ourselves in the heat, they would join us and help, and often times giggle at us for being so tired all the time. This is how many of the relationships developed between Project HOPE and the children in the community. We worked, but also participated in many activities together, including baseball, Frisbee, and making bracelets that were extremely popular. The joy and smiles from these children touched my heart and served as a reminder of how important projects like these are.

Education is important to the future generations of children in San Andres. It gives the children opportunities to learn, engage, and make important decisions for their community. Whether it is about agriculture, food security, or water sustainability, they can be participants and make decisions about these important issues.” – Paula Dean

Read Paula’s full-story