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SANTA ROSA FUND

NEWSLETTER
Issue 28, November 2006
Registered Charity No. 1028085

Computer suite
up and running

The new computer suite (named ‘The Friends of England Computer Laboratory’) at its inauguration
on 11th September 2006
The Santa Rosa School first raised the possibility of computers at the school in mid-2004 and it was
first mentioned in the SRF Newsletter no. 24 in November that same year. Two years on and we can
report that the school now has a fully functioning computer suite with five computers, five monitors
and two printers.
More details are given on the following pages.
SRF Newsletter November 2006, p.1

From this, in December 1988 -

Computer Suite Inauguration Ceremony
The inauguration ceremony was held on Monday 11th September. It had originally been organised to
coincide with a visit to the school by the new British ambassador in Costa Rica, Tom Kennedy, but his
itinerary was changed at short notice. The embassy, however, is still trying to fix a visit to the school
for Mr. Kennedy – perhaps on his next visit to Nicaragua?
The photograph shows the large bouquet of flowers sent for the occasion by
the company Microsa from whom the two purchased computers were
bought. Unfortunately, Microsa representatives were also unable to attend
the ceremony at the school, but two members of the company, Sra. Lilliam
Morales Rowhani, a director of the company, and Meyling Sánchez deserve
special thanks for the very considerable help they gave and flexibility they
showed in the processes of obtaining cost estimates, advising on all aspects
of installation, and the eventual installation itself. (Lilliam Morales Rowhani
also happens to be a legislative deputy in the Nicaraguan National
Assembly.)

ONCE AGAIN, MANY, MANY THANKS TO ALL OUR
SUPPORTERS WHO HAVE MADE THIS VENTURE POSSIBLE
WITH THEIR DONATIONS.
SRF Newsletter November 2006, p.2

To this, in September 2006 -

Translation of a letter to Santa Rosa Fund supporters from
headteacher Virginia Gómez Guillén, all the staff, pupils and
parents of the Santa Rosa School in Managua.
Today the 11th September 2006 is a very special day for all of us since, thanks to
the Santa Rosa Fund, the British Embassy in Costa Rica and Gill, our colleague
from England, a dream has been turned into reality in our school – we have a
Mini-Laboratory of Computers which will be of great use for the whole community.
On behalf of all the pupils at the school, we send you our thanks and commit ourselves to taking great
care and making great use of the machinery which will improve our academic success and strengthen
our teaching and learning.
Thanks to your donations, we have a fine library and now we are inaugurating a Computer MiniLaboratory. Thank you brothers and sisters from England for your noble heart and your wish to help
the education of Nicaraguan children.

SRF Newsletter November 2006, p.3

THE NEW COMPUTER LABORATORY – THE STORY SO FAR
Through the last four SRF newsletters, our supporters will be aware of the Fund’s applications for the
funding of a computing system at the Santa Rosa School in Managua. The Fund failed to secure
funding from the UK-based Anglo-Central America Society, but the British Embassy in San José
(Costa Rica) adapted our application. They then provided money for the purchase of two new
computers and a printer, as well as donating two of its own which were due to be replaced along with
a printer. At the same time the Nicaraguan President’s Office donated one computer to the school.
With the help of Gill Holmes who lives in Managua and who gave her
services to the Fund for free, the SRF has provided:
- a hub so that all the computers can inter-communicate and can use
either printer;
- stabilisers to regulate the electricity flow and to provide back-up
capacity in the event of the frequent electricity cuts which Nicaragua
is currently experiencing; and
- money for the partitioning of the school administration area to create a
room dedicated to the computers.
Gill Holmes
With the continued help of Gill, the SRF also intends to provide:
- ink cartridges for the printers;
- a service contract that provides two annual cleanings for all machines – essential in the
alternating dust and damp of the Nicaraguan seasons – and coverage of a couple of free
hardware trouble-shooting incidents each year; (Note: the two purchased computers are of
course under guarantee, but the guarantee does not include any form of regular cleaning)
- a range of necessary accessories such as 3½” diskettes and CDs;
- the cost of training courses for a small number of members of staff, with a view to these
members of staff providing ‘cascade’ training to other staff;
- the SRF has undertaken to cover any increased cost for the first three years as a result of the
extra electricity charges incurred by the school through the new computer usage. The school is
currently monitoring these charges to determine whether they increase or not;
- the costs incurred by our ‘own’ trouble-shooter, Gill Holmes (along with a call-out fee of $25
per month). We consider that, at least in the first year, the service which Gill can offer to the
school to be on hand to help them sort out the many likely teething problems (with both
software and hardware) beyond what a service contract can offer, will be both necessary and
extremely useful. Our supporters need to know that the staff at the Santa Rosa School are all
untrained and inexperienced in computer usage. We are very fortunate that Gill is available,
willing and suitably flexible to provide such a service. She is also well-known at the school.
The costs listed above may be variable and may give a little cause for concern to some of our
supporters, but through the generosity of the British Embassy, the SRF has so far had to find only a
small portion (approx. $1,400 to date) of the amount that the trustees committed for this purpose. The
trustees are aware, however, that this represents another regular commitment of the Fund’s resources
and we therefore intend to monitor the costs carefully. Moreover, we will monitor them in the long
term as we expect costs to be very limited in the first 6 – 12 months as the school tentatively begins to
learn how to use the new machines.

SRF Newsletter November 2006, p.4

COMPUTERS PERHAPS – BUT MORE OF THE FUND’S
ASSISTANCE GOES ELSEWHERE TOO
We have increased the Fund’s financial commitment to the Santa Rosa School through the extra costs incurred
as a result of the new computer suite; but in the forthcoming year the trustees have agreed that we shall also be
increasing our commitment to the educational projects supported and promoted by the Berriz nuns, who work in
the very rural and very poor Cosigüina Peninsula of Nicaragua.
In September this year, the nuns asked us to consider a number of possibilities, as listed below. We make no
apology for the crowding of words here – it is necessary to explain the level of need in this area, and we are
seeking feedback from our supporters on the priorities we should attach to these needs; and so we aim to inform
you in as much depth as space permits.
1.

2.
3.

4.

5.

6.

The Rosario Mayorga School Library - The library in the Rosario Mayorga Primary School in Villa
España (established to give the youths of the community somewhere to study and something to study with
and which was described in SRF Newsletters 25 and 27) is in need of more resources. The SRF currently
funds the library to the tune of $200 (USD) per annum which clearly does not go very far.
Photocopier - For the same library, a specific need is the money for a photocopier. Patricia, the librarian,
has found that some of the library’s users often require the same resources, and a photocopier would
relieve the demand for the same material.
Youth and campesino study - The nuns are trying to find the financial support for a programme of youth
and campesino interaction in which small groups of youths (mostly from the town of El Viejo) spend two
or three days in relatively remote villages in the Cosigüina Peninsula. (Campesinos are members of the
rural farming community who practice a largely subsistence type of farming and/or find employment on
large-scale plantations.) During the time of their stay they will conduct research into the needs and ‘level
of life’ of campesino families in the villages. This is intended both as a data gathering exercise (for use in
lobbying and policy-making) and as an exercise in improving the understanding of the campesino reality
by the current generation of youths. The funding is needed particularly for the transport and materials
requirements of the programme. (Many of the nuns’ programmes in the peninsula involve the teenager and
youth generation. The importance of these programmes is underlined by the appalling lack of opportunities
for employment, study, other productive activity and leisure in the region.)
The Camilo Ortega School - In the comarca of Venezuela (not the country – a comarca is more or less
equivalent to a rural parish in England) about 30 km. to the north of the town of El Viejo, the Camilo
Ortega School needs $200 (USD) for materials as nothing is supplied by the Nicaraguan Ministry of
Education. In fact, this amount of money was delivered by the Santa Rosa Fund to the nuns for this
purpose in September this year. As with similar projects supported by the SRF, the nuns not only
administer the money, but also make the purchases themselves and deliver them to the school rather than
simply handing over money to the school. The trustees of the Fund may wish to maintain this support
each year, and would welcome our supporters’ thoughts on this possibility.
Cosigüina Youth Centre - Last year the Santa Rosa Fund began supporting the new
Youth Centre in the village of Cosigüina – see the last SRF newsletter (no. 27) – with a
small amount given annually for the purchase of books and a small annual allowance
for Karlita who manages the centre. Again, all disbursement of the money is made by
the nuns. The nuns have suggested that more books and learning resources are required
and that they would like to increase Karlita’s allowance, which currently stands at $40
per month - below the UN-defined poverty level. The nuns explain that the job Karlita
Karlita
does now covers the running of the Youth Centre office, the resource centre and all the
logistics of the Centre. She now shares the job with another young woman from
Cosigüina who has a baby, and any allowance that we fund will therefore be shared between the two.
Resources for street children - The town of El Viejo has a Recreation Centre which serves essentially as
a Youth Centre and which is managed by the nuns. The youths there have initiated a programme to care for
street children from three of the barrios (suburbs) in El Viejo. For this work, they particularly need money
for resources such as games with which to involve the street children during their street outreach work. In
September the Santa Rosa Fund made a donation of $200 to this cause, and supporters may wish to
continue or even increase this support in the future. Again, we would welcome any thoughts on this
possibility.

SRF Newsletter November 2006, p.5

Our latest visitor from the UK to the Santa Rosa School
In September this year, Tobie Roffey was the latest UK visitor to the Santa Rosa School in Managua.
Tobie, from Bickley in Kent and a student at Plymouth University, is spending a year working at a
number of eco-lodges in Costa Rica at the same time as carrying out studies there for her
undergraduate dissertation and improving her Spanish. She took a couple of weeks out from her work
to travel a little and to see other parts of Central America. She visited the school with Gill Holmes and
Martin Mowforth for the inauguration of the computer suite and spent most of the afternoon
surrounded by inquisitive secondary students. Tobie’s account of her visit follows.
I had only been in Nicaragua for a couple of days, but I was lucky to be around at
the time when Gill and Martin were to visit the Santa Rosa School in the Barrio
Santa Rosa of Managua and to be invited to go with them for the inauguration of
the new computer suite. After the initial speeches, I was introduced as a student
from England to all the pupils who were assembled in the yard for the occasion.
They were told that I speak Spanish and would be willing to spend the afternoon
talking to small groups of them. From that time on, I was besieged by groups of
secondary pupils, and the group around me slowly grew larger and larger.

Tobie Roffey

They all wanted to know what British schools were like and in particular whether they had rules about
tying hair back and about uniform. They explained that at the Santa Rosa School they had to have their
socks pulled up to the top, and they wondered if it was the same in England. They also asked whether
the streets were clean in England and if people threw rubbish out of the bus windows which is an
unfortunately common practice in Nicaragua – so it is at least encouraging that the younger generation
of Nicaraguans is aware of the problem. They were also fascinated with typical names for boys and
girls in England, and had great problems pronouncing Tobie.
I was exhausted by the inquisition they gave me, but I had an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable
afternoon at the school.
Tobie is now back in southern Costa Rica, continuing her eco-lodge placements. Whilst in Nicaragua,
she also visited the nuns in El Viejo with whom the Santa Rosa Fund works. She was inspired by their
work and is currently enquiring about the possibility of ending her year in Central America with a
volunteer month or two working on one of their educational projects.

Opportunities for volunteers
The Santa Rosa Fund is committing money to the training of members of staff at the Santa Rosa
School in computer use, but it has occurred to us that there must be someone among our supporters,
their friends, family and acquaintances, who wish to combine travel with a volunteer opportunity in a
country like Nicaragua. So, do you know of anyone who wants to travel, is willing to spend a month
or two in Managua and is able to teach basic computing skills? Any such person would require:

a good level of Spanish;

the ability to plan and teach short basic courses on Word or Excel or Windows;

the ability to explain techniques simply to people without a basic knowledge of
computing.
Anybody interested? Contact Martin Mowforth – see page 8 for contact details.
SRF Newsletter November 2006, p.6

FUND RAISING NEWS
EVENTS GONE
Band Night
Back in July the Ordulph Arms played host to a band night in aid of the Santa Rosa Fund. The event
was organised by Frances Legg and Jules Mole, and was largely attended by local students.
Throughout the evening there were a variety of performances from groups Kitty Fantastic and ANJ
(Alex Bosworth, Nick Rowe and Joe Bosworth), as well as from solo artist Rory Gilmore.
The evening was a success in that it was enjoyable as well as raising money for the Fund and
increasing awareness about the charity’s work. It was also great to receive support from a different
demographic than usual for the Fund, and the enthusiasm of everyone who took part was
commendable. Many thanks go out to the bands for donating their time and talents, and to all who
attended.
(Report by Rosie Legg)

Inaugural Concert of the Tamar Valley Male Voice Choir
Along with others, Jim Christopher, a long-time supporter of the Santa Rosa Fund, recently formed the
Tamar Valley Male Voice Choir, and dedicated their inaugural concert to the Fund. The concert was
held in Tavistock Methodist Church on 16th September. Guest artists were Jackie and Ivor Lander and
the music was directed by Rosemary Cole. The event raised a total of £371 : 50, which was divided
between the choir and the Fund after a donation to the Methodist Church had been made.
Many thanks to Jim, but also to all those who took part, not least those who attended the evening.

Mobile phones and broken arms
For the last year, Geoff Durant from Burton-on-Trent, a telephone engineer and a supporter of the Santa Rosa
Fund, has been recycling used mobile phones, and donating £3 to the Santa Rosa Fund for every one he sold on.
The Fund has had a number of collection points for old mobiles and Geoff has so far raised over £120 for the
Fund. The idea remains an active one, but we are putting a hold on the collection of phones for the moment as
Geoff fell off a ladder in a brewery – honestly – and broke both his arms in the fall. He is therefore unable to do
any of his phone recovery work.
We thank Geoff very much for his efforts and wish him well for a speedy and thorough recovery.

EVENTS TO COME
Quiz Night
Friday 2nd February 2007.
7:30 pm at the Alexander Centre, Plymouth Road, Tavistock, Devon.
Bring your own drinks and nibbles.
SRF Newsletter November 2006, p.7

The Santa Rosa Fund website.
Slowly, and rather unsurely, the Santa Rosa Fund is coming into the 21 st century. We now have a website! It
isn’t very glossy like so many other websites – it just contains the basic information about us – our principal
aim, activities, a list of trustees, a brief history, our most recent sets of accounts, and our latest newsletter.
It is a part of the Charity Commission’s website which is run by the GuideStar organisation. To access it, go to:
www.guidestar.org.uk
In the Search box, enter Santa Rosa Fund and press <Return>. The site should then appear, and several options
which include Summary, Activities, Organisation, Finances, will be seen. Click on any of these for more detail.
The latest newsletter can be found by clicking on Activities, then Publications.
Unfortunately, only one newsletter can be stored on the site at any given time, so the ability to see back copies
is not yet available to us. But we are trying to apply pressure for a change in this.
The site also allows us to display our logo. Unfortunately, we don’t have a logo. Would anybody out there like
to offer us a design for one?
For some time, we have also been looking for someone who would like to develop our website for us – a techno
wiz (well, not necessarily) who wants to help a charity. If anybody is interested and able, please contact Martin
Mowforth on 01822 617504 or on mmowforth@plymouth.ac.uk

Enclosures

With this newsletter, you will find a subscription renewal form, and we invite you to continue
your annual support of the Santa Rosa Fund and the significant development work it carries out in
Nicaragua.
Many thanks
(Please ignore this if you already have a standing order to the Santa Rosa Fund – for which, also,
many thanks.)

Also enclosed with this newsletter is a copy of our brand new leaflet. When you’ve read it,
please pass it on to someone who you think might like to support the work of the Santa Rosa Fund.

SANTA ROSA FUND CONTACTS
Chair:

Pete Mayston, Rose Cottage, Tuckermarsh, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HB
Tel. 01822 840297
Email: mayston@waitrose.com
Secretary:
June Mowforth, 51 West Street, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8JZ
Tel. 01822 617504
Email: mmowforth@plymouth.ac.uk
Treasurer:
Pat Mayston – as for Pete (above)
Twinning links representative: Rick Blower, Cloberry Cottage, Brentor, Tavistock, Devon PL19 0NG
Tel. 01822 810600
Email: r.blower@btinternet.com
Membership secretary: Martin Mowforth – as for June (above)

PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER
SRF Newsletter November 2006, p.8