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Issue 26, November 2005
Registered Charity No. 1028085


(BBC News)
Residents desperate to recover whatever they could from floodwaters
Whilst much of the world's attention has understandably and appropriately been focussed on the
earthquake victims of Pakistan, Central America has again been bearing the brunt of a number of
SRF Newsletter Nov. 2005, P.1

hurricanes and tropical storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The worst of these in October was
Hurricane Stan which caused the deaths of about 1,000 people, mostly in Guatemala and El Salvador.
As has been the case in a number of such disasters in the past in Central America, most of the
casualties and property destruction resulted from the flooding caused by the hurricane. In Nicaragua, the
death toll came to 11 as a result of Stan and it seems that our partner organisations in the country
escaped the worst of the impacts.
At the time of Hurricane Stan, two British students, Katie and Sarah Miles from Birmingham University,
were working in the town of El Viejo with the Berriz Missionary Sisters, one of the Santa Rosa Fund's
partner organisations in Nicaragua. They were there after contacting the Santa Rosa Fund for assistance
with a M.Sc. research dissertation. María-José, one of the nuns, wrote to us saying:
"I hope your students' experience was a good one. I think it was very hard for them because there was
extremely heavy rain and just as they arrived the municipality's emergency committee was being reformed to kick-start the emergency procedures that we had in place during Hurricane Mitch [1998]. In
the end, it turned into a tropical storm and our area wasn't as badly affected as many others. So the
students were able to finish their work." 

Computers at the Santa Rosa School
Our last two newsletters have reported on the deliberations of the Santa Rosa
Fund trustees regarding the appropriateness of purchasing computers for the
Santa Rosa School. As the last newsletter reported, all reaction to the idea has
been positive, and so the trustees prepared an application for three-way
match funding from the British embassy in Costa Rica (which serves British
interests in Nicaragua), the Anglo-Central America Society (ACAS), and the
Santa Rosa Fund. The application was prepared in conjunction with and with the
approval of the school's director, Virginia Gómez de Guillen, and other members of the staff.
The application covers the purchase and installation of four computers and two printers at the school,
electric fans for cooling, all the necessary computer accessories, an allowance for the extra costs of
electricity at the school, training for the staff and repair and guarantee conditions for the equipment. The
total cost of the planned system amounts to US$12,188 (approx. £6,750), of which the Santa Rosa
Fund will be expected to provide US$2,437 (approx. £1,400, or 20 per cent). Trustees of the Fund
believe that a reasonable proportion of this amount may be found from within our normal annual income
after meeting all our other funding commitments for 2006. But it is possible that we shall have to mount
a special appeal or special fund-raising events, depending on the success or otherwise of our usual fundraising events and subscription renewal call (which accompanies this newsletter). In any case, our
normal yearly funding commitments with various educational causes and projects in Nicaragua will be
met for the year 2006.
The application was submitted in early October to the two other organisations, from each of which 40
per cent of the costs is sought. At the time of printing of the newsletter, we have not yet heard the
results of their deliberations, although we hope to do so before the new year. We have heard, however,
that an official of the British embassy has recently made a visit to the school in Managua, although we
cannot say whether this is in any way associated with the application.

Five trustees of the Fund will be visiting the school in Managua (at their own cost) in January 2006, and
it is hoped that the fate of the application will be known by then so that they can be actively involved in
the purchase and installation of the system. In the event of the application being rejected, their presence
at the school will allow full discussions with Virginia and the staff on how to proceed with the idea of
providing some form of computer capability and training at the school. 

As the last page mentions, five Santa Rosa Fund trustees will be visiting Nicaragua this coming January
and will be delivering our annual commitment of funds for the following projects and causes.
At the Santa Rosa School:
P money for monthly purchases of materials @ US$100 (approx. £60) per month;
P US$250 (approx. £140) each for the 3 mini-funds:
- the Hardship Fund
- the Teacher Training Fund
- the School Journeys Fund
P an annual bonus payment to each member of staff

An annual donation of US$360 (approx. £200) for materials and equipment for the Las Chicas II
centre of the Quincho Barrilete Association, a street childrens' organisation in Managua.


At the Germán Pomares Pre-School in Villa España:
P the annual salary of US$720 (approx. £400) of pre-school teacher, Grethel del Carmén
Campos Cabrera
P US$180 (approx. £100) for educational materials


An annual allowance of US$240 (approx. £130) (@ US$20 per month) for the youth resources
manager at the Cosigüina Youth Centre

Visiting the projects will mean that the trustees will be able to assess the need for appropriate increases
in these allowances. For instance, the trustees feel that the annual salary of the pre-school teacher at
Germán Pomares Pre-School should be increased in line with the national increase awarded to teachers
in Nicaragua. This would mean granting an extra US$480 (approx. £270) to the nuns at the Berriz
Missionary Centre in El Viejo who pay the salary on a fortnightly basis, but we need to assure ourselves
that the nuns do not already have sufficient funds for this and that they agree that it should be paid.
Likewise, the nuns have plans to increase the responsibility and duties of the youth resources manager at
the Cosigüina Youth Centre, in which case we shall allocate more resources as required providing that
the SRF's funds are sufficient to do so.
Additionally, we are aware even before we get there of many other needs in these areas in which we
have already worked. We know for instance that the nuns in El Viejo are seeking further assistance for
the new library based in the Rosario Mayorga School in Villa España as well as support for establishing
an adequate resource centre at the Cosigüina Youth Centre. We have also received an application for
funding for the supply of equipment to a youth baseball team in the town of El Viejo. All these
decisions, and no doubt more, will be made on the ground (on behalf of you, the SRF supporters) by the
five trustees in January - providing, of course, that the Santa Rosa Fund has sufficient funds in its
coffers to allow them to make these decisions. 

SRF Newsletter Nov. 2005, P.3

In our last newsletter, we gave a little information about the Primary School in the village of
Cosigüina which we knew was looking for a school in the UK with which to form a twinning link. Since
then we have received a detailed description of the school from one of its teachers, Teresita Ríos. We
have included here a translation of just a few excerpts from Teresita's letter.
"The Cosigüina School is supported by parents (according to their means), who form a School
Management Council. The School spans all grades in the standard community pre-school (20 pupils)
and primary education (201 pupils). The average number of pupils per teacher is 40. The director of the
school is Roberto Andres Palma Ramírez.
All the teachers spend (live) all week in the community. We arrive on Mondays and return home (mostly
to the town of El Viejo) on Fridays. We cannot travel each day to and from our homes because of the
distance from the school - if we tried to travel, we would
not be able to get there in time for our classes, so we
give up our families all week without being able to care
for our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, or parents.
We make use of the afternoons by voluntarily helping the
children who are having difficulties with reading and
writing and maths [the normal daily hours of the
primary school are from 7 am to 12 noon] - we call it
'educational reinforcement'. We are only paid for five
hours a day contact time with the pupils. We do this
extra because we can see that the children need to do
[extra] learning for life because as our classes are multigrade (at least two grades in each class) we find it
difficult to cater for all the individual differences and difficulties that they present.
Throughout their school time the children are constantly in need and we the teachers support them in
whatever ways giving various items so that they don't leave classes without exercise books, pencils, and
at times even shoes and some items of clothing. What we give them is not new, even though we would
like to give them more, but we earn very little. So what we try to do is get help from the NGOs [nongovernmental organisations] and to seek sponsors for the children who have the greatest economic
difficulties and those who have the biggest families.
The community of Cosigüina is generally occupied in agricultural activity which in recent years has not
been very good on account of the poor rains, but at times excessive rains. Most farmers remain in debt
to the banks through loans made for the preparation of land and the sowing. The summer period [which
for the Central Americans is between November and May, coinciding with the dry season] is hard since
families which were OK at the time of sowing may not have enough to eat during the summer months
and may go hungry.
I hope you'll be able to help us with a twinning. It would be really good to share experiences with
teachers from your country as well as for our children with new friends from Europe."
If anyone knows of a school that may be interested in forming such a link with the Cosigüina School in
Nicaragua, the Santa Rosa Fund would be pleased to serve as the initial enabler of such a link. We

have more photos and information about the school than
we are able to include here, so please get in touch with
us for contact details. 

Many Santa Rosa Fund supporters may not be aware that in
the UK there are quite a number of twinning links with
Nicaraguan communities - in fact 14 twin towns and local
groups plus Wales NSC. All are affiliated to the Nicaragua
Solidarity Campaign (NSC) and all function autonomously.
Some of these links are official (council) twinnings; others
are community links which focus on a particular
organisation. Purely in the interests of spreading awareness,
we list these below (the official council links are asterisked)
and give a very brief description of the work of selected
Bristol Link with Nicaragua* (BLINC) - supports
projects in the area around Puerto Morazán.

Friends of Morazán, Bristol - twinned with Puerto

María Zuñilda Pérez Brigade (linking with Achuapa) has

Oxford - Leon Association has raised funds to provide
training for 25 health promoters in the use of specialist
equipment for disabled children.

raised funds to build a hostel in Achuapa in northern Nicaragua.
The hostel, built by Raleigh International volunteers from
Britain, enables pupils from outlying communities to stay in the
town during the week thereby avoiding long journeys.

Reading - San Francisco Libre Association secured a

Islington Managua Friendship Association

Santa Rosa Fund - Barrio Santa Rosa (Managua)

Leicester Masaya Link Group has obtained a 3-year grant

Sheffield* - Estelí Friendship Society

from the Department for International Development for a project
focussing on the impact of international trade on producers' lives
and the benefits of fair trade, using Nicaragua as a case study.

Swindon* Ocotal Link

scholarship at Reading College for Jeyserd Martínez from San
Francisco Libre to study carpentry. Jeyserd has since returned to
Nicaragua and set up a carpentry workshop producing furniture.

Wales NSC
Lewisham Support Group* - links with Matagalpa.
Manchester - Bilwi Link Group

Central America Groups:
Birmingham Action for Central America (BACA)

Merseyside Nicaragua Must Survive Group - links

Leeds - Central America Solidarity Group has set up a

especially with the port of Corinto.

link with La Concha. Monies have been raised to set up a
revolving loan fund for women to develop their own businesses
such as catering and crafts.

Norwich/Norfolk - El Viejo Link has completed the first
year of funding for a scholarship project that has enabled 100
children from poor families to attend school. 32 schools in
Norwich/Norfolk have expressed an interest in the project and
many have raised funds to help.

Nottingham Central America Solidarity Campaign
Visit the new NSC website for more information about
any of these links:

Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (NSC)

SRF Newsletter Nov. 2005, P.5

As if the British twinning links with Nicaragua were not enough, our next report, from René Zamora,
the Fund's representative in Managua, describes an international conference of Sister City
organisations - the US term for what we know as twinning links. The conference was held in Managua
in July this year and the Santa Rosa Fund asked René to attend as our representative. René sent back
to us an envelope full of the pamphlets he had collected from each organisation (a few of which are
shown on the collage on the next page) along with his own report of the event, a translation of which
"The International Sister City Conference was held on Saturday and Sunday, 16 and 17 July 2005. One
of the principal objectives of the gathering was to continue the struggle for social and economic justice
for Nicaragua through solidarity and twinning projects. At the same time the meeting served as a space
for sharing experiences, information and the methods employed in different communities and projects.
To achieve these objectives, as well as conference presentations there were also many workshops.
For this report, I consider that the most significant points of the conference were:
politics should not be mixed with the projects; and projects should not be used for personal gain
or for proselytising;
communities should be empowered and local people trained in order to aim for autosustainability of projects, taking into account strengths and weaknesses;
sister city and twinning organisations should meet more frequently in order to strengthen their
support and linking networks and for the sharing of information between projects.
The sense of solidarity in the air was palpable - a feeling that has not been evident for a long time. I got
the impression of being immersed in a time capsule from the 1980s, which on the one hand was good,
but on the other was full of nostalgia. It was a really interesting experience which enabled me to get to
know some splendid and spirited people. I'm grateful to the Santa Rosa Fund for that opportunity and
for me it was an honour to represent you." 
René Alonso Zamora

El Sueño Existe
And yet another meeting of twinning and solidarity groups associated with Latin America. El Sueño
Existe (The Dream Exists) was a weekend festival in Machynlleth, Wales, inspired by and dedicated to
Victor Jara of Chile. The Santa Rosa Fund held a stall at the festival.
Victor was a key figure in the Chilean New Song movement which was a representation of the cultural
awakening that took place through the government of Salvador Allende in Chile in the early 1970s.
Following the US-backed military coup of September 11th 1973, this music was repressed and it
became dangerous to even own a record of Victor Jara.
Despite the repression and the assassination of Victor Jara by General Pinochet's forces, however, the
vision survived and now, following the end of the Pinochet dictatorship, is slowly re-emerging. The
Victor Jara Foundation, recently established by Joan Jara, Victor's English-born widow, works in human

rights and education and provides dance opportunities for disadvantaged people in Santiago, the capital
of Chile.
The El Sueño Existe festival included a colourful mix of Latin American and Welsh music and was
attended by a host of Latin Americans living in Wales. Many useful contacts were made by the Santa
Rosa Fund. The event's main organiser, Tony Corden, has been a long-time supporter of the Santa Rosa
Fund. 

In the last SRF Newsletter we included a short piece about the following sponsored bike ride, details of which are now a little
clearer. Michael Peart, the main organiser of the event and one of its participants has sent the following information.

Sponsored Bike Ride

Bilwi, RAAN - San Juan del Sur, Rivas
Our 800 km journey will begin in the extreme north-east of Nicaragua, Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) in February 2006. We will
travel from Managua to Puerto Cabezas by bus, where we will spend two days resting and preparing for the gruelling task
ahead. From here, our journey will take us through the RAAN (the North Atlantic Autonomous Region) past the
‘triangulo minero’, onto the departments of Boaco, Managua (through the capital), Masaya, Granada and finally Rivas
(extreme south-west), where we will finish in the town of San Juan del Sur.
The purpose of the journey is to raise funds for several good
causes. Monies raised will be divided between the Santa Rosa
Fund and other charitable causes. We are also planning to
donate equipment to a school in Bilwi, a particularly
underdeveloped part of the country.
We have the full backing of the Santa Rosa Fund. Rene
Zamora, who will be taking part in the ride, is the Santa Rosa
Fund’s representative in Managua! If you would like more
information on the Santa Rosa Fund you can contact Rene
Zamora on + 505 277 2488 or write to Martin Mowforth
(Santa Rosa Fund membership secretary) at the Santa Rosa
Fund address or on .
If you are in Nicaragua and would like to sponsor us, or are
even interested in taking part in the ride, please contact
Michael Peart (see contact details below). If you are in the
UK and would like to sponsor us, please contact Martin
Michael Peart, Casa M11, Residencial Sierras Doradas, Km 17 C. Masaya, Nicaragua, Central America
+ 505 222-2266 / 851-5121

SRF Newsletter Nov. 2005, P.7

Throwing out your old mobile ???
Then recycle it for the Santa Rosa Fund.
A company in the Midlands (run by SRF supporter Geoff Durant) is offering £3 for every mobile phone and charger that it
receives from the Fund. The company then updates the phones and recycles them into the market as working mobile phones. The
old phones for recycling do not necessarily have to have their SIM cards.
Anyone wanting to donate their old mobile can take it to a number of centres that have a ‘Mobile Phone Recycling Box’.
Currently these include:
Tavistock Cycles in Paddons Row, Tavistock
Sixth Form Centre, Tavistock College
John Bentley School, Calne, Wilts.
We hope that other supporters of the Fund will want to participate in this scheme and open a ‘Mobile
Recycling Box’ in their centre. The period after Xmas is likely to be particularly productive for recycling old mobiles as people
receive presents of new mobile phones and ditch their old ones. Anyone interested in having a ‘receiver box’ for the benefit of the
Santa Rosa Fund should contact June Mowforth (as below).

Friday 25th November 2005 7:30 pm for a 8 pm start.
At the Parish Rooms, Plymouth Road, Tavistock £6 entry fee for each team.
Bring own drinks, although coffee and tea will be served during the break.
Last year we started late because at 8 pm we were still trying to cram more teams in. So please try to turn up before 8 pm. This is
a popular and very enjoyable event in which the race for the wooden spoon is just as competitive as the race for the top spot.

This short note is just an advance warning to our supporters that in March next year we are planning to hold an event at
which the five trustees who will be visiting the Santa Rosa Fund’s projects in Nicaragua during January will report back
to other supporters. The event will probably be held in Tavistock, Devon. It will be planned to coincide with Central
America Week in the second half of March, and we shall attempt to mix the report with some fun and music.


Santa Rosa Fund contact addresses:
For official and general enquiries: Secretary: June Mowforth, 51 West Street, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8JZ; Tel. 01822 617504; email:
Chair of trustees: Pete Mayston; Treasurer: Pat Mayston, Rose Cottage, Tuckermarsh, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HB; Tel. 01822 840297; email:
For information on Nicaragua Twin Town groups: Rick Blower; email: