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SANTA ROSA FUND

NEWSLETTER
Issue 29, June 2007
Registered Charity No. 1028085

Ambassadorial visit to the
Santa Rosa School

Ambassador Tom Kennedy being entertained at an ‘acto’ performed by pupils of the Santa Rosa
School

SRF Newsletter June 2007, p.1

British Ambassador’s visit to the Santa Rosa School
Supporters of the Santa Rosa Fund who have been privileged enough to visit the Santa Rosa School
in Managua – and they now number well into double figures - will recognise in these photographs
the warmth of the welcome given to Ambassador Tom Kennedy on 9th February this year. Here
Ambassador Tom Kennedy is shown talking to pupils in the Ben Dalton Memorial Library and
below with Virginia Gómez de Guillen, headteacher of the school.

Bruce Callow from the embassy wrote to us that “the Ambassador said that it was a very special
experience for him and he was impressed with the school and glad that the embassy could be of
help to support the good work [the Santa Rosa Fund] are doing.”

On the next page we reproduce extracts from the letter that we received from Gill Holmes who
attended the school on our behalf for the duration of the Ambassador‟s visit.

SRF Newsletter June 2007, p.2

Dear Santa Rosa Fund,
As you know the British Ambassador Tom Kennedy was in Nicaragua last week and visited the
school. He arrived at 8:30 am accompanied by a photographer and first of all saw the computer lab
where he recognised the equipment donated by the Embassy (because they still have their logos),
and the Ben Dalton Memorial Library where groups of pupils were busy studying at the tables.
Next we were invited to sit on the stage under the huge spreading guanacaste tree for the „acto‟
which was, as always, profoundly moving. The Ambassador, this being his first visit to the school,
was quite unprepared for the warmth and care shown in celebrating the support received from the
Embassy. First we listened to a welcome from a third grade girl which was followed by the folk
dancing group trained by Modesto, the sixth grade teacher. The group consisted of four beautifully
attired girls who performed charmingly as always and two bashful boys, grinning with pride and
embarrassment. I was just congratulating myself on managing to get through the dancing without
the usual „lump in the throat‟ when a group of sixth graders came on to sing the „Canción de la
Alegría‟ or „Song to Joy‟ and I was completely lost, reduced to fiddling with my camera so they
wouldn‟t notice I‟d gone all teary.
The „acto‟ finished with a presentation of gifts to the Ambassador (oxen and cart carved in wood
and other ornaments); we were then taken on a tour of the school, visiting every classroom from
pre-school to sixth grade and exchanging words of English with the pupils. There was just time for
juice and pastries in the library before the Ambassador went on his way, after telling Virginia and
her staff how touched he was and thanking them all from the bottom of his heart for their welcome.
I think it all went very well and has made a lasting impression on Tom Kennedy.
All the best,
Gill

Volunteers to provide computer training
for staff at the Santa Rosa School
The Santa Rosa Fund has organised a group of volunteers from Britain to provide training for staff
on a one-to-one basis. This is in addition to paying for staff at the Santa Rosa School to follow
courses in computing so that they can make full use of the machines provided by the British
Embassy (Costa Rica). From the 29th June this year for one month a group of five volunteers from
Britain will visit the Santa Rosa School in Managua.
The volunteers are Alistair Williams (19, currently on a gap year before starting his studies in Law
at St. John‟s College, Cambridge), James Watson (22, currently between his 3 rd and 4th year of a
degree in Human Sciences at Sussex University in Brighton), Doug Specht (22, just finished a three
year course in Geography and Education Studies at the College of St. Mark and St. John,
Plymouth), Rick Blower and Martin Mowforth – the last two being trustees of the Santa Rosa Fund
and whose ages are too great to count and to give here. The next newsletter (November 2007) will
include their reports of the work.

SRF Newsletter June 2007, p.3

New projects funded by the Santa
Rosa Fund in the Cosigüina Peninsula
Following on from the last issue of the SRF Newsletter and its descriptions of a number of new
educational projects in the Cosigüina Peninsula of Nicaragua, the trustees of the Santa Rosa Fund
took decisions at their AGM in January this year to support the following projects and initiatives.
We support these projects through our partner organisation in the region, the Berriz order of nuns
(Misioneras Mercedarias de Berriz) who are based in El Viejo, the administrative town of the
municipality.



Cosigüina Youth Centre - $400 (US dollars) for the purchase of more educational
materials for the year 2007.
Cosigüina Primary School - $400 for the purchase of educational materials for the year
2007.
José Urtecho School – in the comarca (parish) of Venezuela – not to be confused with
the country - $400 for the purchase of educational materials for the year 2007.
Los Pozitos School - $400 for the purchase of educational materials for the year 2007.
This decision has since been overtaken by events as the nuns in El Viejo (through whom
our donations to the Los Pozitos School have always been channelled) have informed us
that the Los Pozitos School is not functioning this year. We are hopeful that the
problems in Los Pozitos will be resolved soon and that in future years we will be able to
continue our support for the excellent work that was carried out there by Melvin the
teacher, the committee of parents who ran the school and the nuns who helped the
community so much in so many ways.
The El Viejo Recreation Centre Street Children Project – $400 to cover costs of this
street childrens‟ project administered by the nuns but essentially run by the young
people of El Viejo who run the El Viejo Recreation Centre.

Additionally, through the Berriz nuns we support various initiatives in Villa España, a settlement
just outside the town of El Viejo that was first set up for the region‟s homeless victims of Hurricane
Mitch in 1998. Details of these are given below.


Germán Pomares Pre-School - $100 (US dollars) for the purchase of educational
materials in 2007 (additional to the $180 delivered to the nuns for this same purpose in
January this year).
Rosario Mayorga Primary School – $500 for the purchase of educational materials
(additional to the $200 delivered to the nuns for this same purpose in January this year).
Villa España Community Library - $500 for the purchase of materials at the library
established in the Rosario Mayorga School for the community of Villa España
(additional to the $200 delivered to the nuns for this same purpose in January this year).

The Berriz Sisters of El Viejo have sent us a number of brief descriptions of some of the above
projects. We include two of these reports below and will try to include the others in later
newsletters. All of the reports they have sent us will be put onto our website www.guidestar.org.uk
(Enter „Santa Rosa Fund‟ in the search engine.)

SRF Newsletter June 2007, p.4

José Coronel Urtecho School, Comarca Venezuela
The rural district of Venezuela is located in the non-urban area of the El Viejo municipality. The
community has a primary school that has 111 pupils on roll, ranging from pre-school classes and 1st
grade to 6th grade pupils.
The pupils in attendance at the school also come from communities other than Venezuela, such as
Palestina, Libornia, San Andrés, El Zapotal and Santo Domingo. There are four teachers at the
school who are responsible for the eight groups.
Due to the poverty affecting the whole of Nicaragua, and in particular the rural areas, the school
has very scarce resources. So the aid given by the Santa Rosa Fund has provided school materials
of use not only to the pupils but also to the teachers.
The support which the Santa Rosa Fund is giving to the school will help the children to study
despite the poverty that their families experience.
We are grateful to the Santa Rosa Fund for your solidarity with us in building a more just and
equitable society.
Sister Rosario Castañeda
January 2007

Villa España Community Library
The library is located in Villa España which is just over 1 km to the north-west of El Viejo. It has a
population of a little more than 100 families.
The community has a primary school with pupils from 1 st to 5th grades, which this year is
increasing in size to include 6th grade primary pupils. The school also houses a community preschool.
Next to the school is the library which is looked after and
organised by Señora Patricia Jarquín who lives in the community.
In 2006 a total of 4,516 children made use of the library during
the ten months of the school year. Apart from Villa España,
children who visit the library also come from the communities of
Colonia Emigdia Catín, Los Kilómetros, El Pastoral and Colonia
Unidad. The library also caters for secondary school pupils and
supports the teachers at the school with books.
We are grateful for the support of the Santa Rosa Fund. God
bless you all for your work and your support.

Sister Lilliam (left) and Patricia Jarquin

Sister Lilliam Miranda
January 2007

SRF Newsletter June 2007, p.5

Introducing Marcia Isabel Ordeñana Rivera,
Deputy Headteacher at the Santa Rosa School

Marcia was born on 5th June 1968 in Managua, so she is now 39 years
old. Until Virginia‟s recent resignation – see page 8 Stop Press –
Marcia was deputy head of the primary section of the school, but she is
now serving as the Acting Headteacher of the school until the Ministry
of Education appoints a new headteacher.
Marcia has 16 years of experience as a primary teacher and in the year
2000 she was chosen as the best primary teacher in the department
[county] of Managua. She is currently one of the four teachers at the
school who are near to finishing their six month course of computer
training, the cost of which has been paid for by the Santa Rosa Fund.
Marcia is married and has two sons, Néstor (16) and Martín (9), and
one daughter, Eymi (4). She lives in Managua, in the Barrio San Cristóbal which is about 8 km
from the school in the Barrio Santa Rosa. She is a huge bundle of energy around the school, and
like her predecessor Elizabeth Toledo she is never too busy to give a warm and genuine welcome to
visitors to the school.

The new Nicaraguan government and the new Minister of
Education
Our readers will be aware that in January this year the government of Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Front
(FSLN) took power in Nicaragua. This came in the wake of 17 years of governments that followed a set of
neoliberal economic policies, promoted and demanded by the international financial institutions (IFIs) and
the G8 governments. In developing nations, especially in Latin America, the value and appropriateness of
these policies are now widely and consistently denounced as being responsible for the increasing poverty
levels, the high drop-out rates from education, the appalling numbers of street children in Latin American
cities, the high level of social exclusion, and widespread misery in evidence on the streets and in the fields of
these countries.
The make-up and policies of the new government are not entirely a reaction to these policies. It is a
government of mixtures and strange contradictions and although hopes for what it might achieve were very
high before last November‟s election, they seem to have been tempered a little after the takeover of power.
The new Minister of Education, Miguel de Castillo Urbina, had been Minister of Education in the
revolutionary Sandinista government of the 1980s. Before taking over government, de Castillo announced
plans to eradicate illiteracy in Nicaragua during the next term of office. He also promised to abolish the
school fees that parents had to contribute for various materials and purposes, which were responsible for so
many children being kept out of school. He has in fact done this already, which is laudable despite the rather
chaotic funding problems which have arisen from this measure – it has meant that the number of pupils on
roll has risen dramatically, and the number of teachers should therefore also grow.
Intentions may be admirable, and in particular it is good to see that the IMF and World Bank (the two major
IFIs) can no longer dictate that teachers should not receive a salary increase or that parents should pay a
monthly fee for their child‟s tuition, but already some teachers (from a limited number of trade unions) have
gone out on strike for higher pay increases. So we cannot assume that the situation is going to improve so
that the Santa Rosa Fund‟s efforts are no longer required. If only. We shall watch this space.

SRF Newsletter June 2007, p.6

Fund-raising news reports
Quiz Night
On Friday 2nd February, the Fund held yet another successful Quiz Night run by Malcolm Medhurst
and his team of runners and markers – Judy Medhurst, Katie Medhurst, Elaine and Ray Bentley –
an amazing effort from all of them as usual.
A total of 20 teams were entered on this occasion and rules about the size of team were a little lax –
there were up to seven people in a couple of teams. Not that anyone worried and not that it helped
anyone to win. The winners were the four members of the Menshevites team – otherwise known as
the Bookstop team. As usual, competition for the wooden spoon was strong and the eventual
winners of this coveted position were the North and South team, who shall remain unidentified.
Other team names included „Just the Three of Us‟, „Gay Adoption Agency‟, „Just Good Friends‟,
„Quick Getaway‟ and „Corridor Kids‟. The last one named was a reference to the fact that the event
was bursting at the seams – The Corridor Kids had to sit out in the corridor.
The Fund raised a total of £338 on the evening through a raffle, entry fees and the sale of its new
range of Nicaraguan jewellery.
Many thanks to all who attended.

Tapas Night
Café Liaison was the venue for a Santa Rosa Fund first on Saturday 31 st March. The café was
packed with supporters who were able to mingle and enjoy the tapas. The evening was enjoyed by
all, especially the winners of the bottle of champagne! A total of £172:50 was raised for the Fund.
Thanks to the friendly staff, to Rosie Legg for organising the event and to all who attended, making
the event a big success.

With a little help from your friends ….
Janet McNamara, a long time supporter of the Santa Rosa Fund, reached a youthful 70 on the 24 th
April this year. Very generously she asked that all her friends make a donation to the Fund rather
than give her presents, and by doing so she raised at least £240 for the Fund. This is equivalent to a
year‟s supply of educational materials for two small rural schools in Nicaragua that are supported
by the Santa Rosa Fund.

Thank you and Happy Birthday Janet

Acoustic Café
In May Tavistock‟s monthly musical evening was held for the benefit of The Santa Rosa Fund and
raised over £200 of funds after costs. Once again, we are extremely grateful to Jeff Sleeman for his
organisation of the event as well as to all the musicians who played there. Thanks also to all the
helpers, especially those who slaved in the kitchen – Fran, Lorna, Gill and Pat.
SRF Newsletter June 2007, p.7

--- Stop Press ---

Headteacher Virginia Gómez De Guillén resigns
Just before this newsletter was sent to the printers, we heard the news from
Nicaragua that Virginia had decided to resign her post as headteacher at the
Santa Rosa School due to ill health. Virginia has had heart problems over
the last few years, yet continued to work as hard as ever.
When she was not the instigator of the Santa Rosa Fund‟s actions, Virginia
was the linchpin in everything that the Santa Rosa Fund has managed to do
at the Santa Rosa School over the years of our existence. We have known
no other headteacher there since the work of the Fund began in 1988.
We intend to give a full appreciation of Virginia and her work in the next
edition of the Santa Rosa Fund newsletter. In the meantime we wish her
well for her richly-deserved retirement.
Until the Ministry of Education (now referred to as MINED) appoints another headteacher,
probably in about three months time, Marcia Ordeñana who is featured on page 6 of this newsletter,
will serve as Acting Headteacher. We are sure that Marcia will have the full cooperation of the staff
and parents at the school as well as our assistance if she should require it.

ENCLOSURE
With this newsletter, you will find a set of the Fund‟s accounts for the year 2006. Please feel free to
ask our treasurer, Pat Mayston (contact details below), any questions you may have about these.
You will see that our newsletter printing and postage costs are increasing somewhat compared with
previous years, but this reflects our increasing supporter base. We now send out the newsletters to
250 addresses, and we thank many of our existing supporters for extending our supporter base by
telling friends and relatives about the work we do. Should any supporters require copies of our
leaflets to help them with further publicity of the Fund, please do not hesitate to ask us. Prospective
supporters can also be referred to our section of the Charity Commission website –
www.guidestar.org.uk – then enter „Santa Rosa Fund‟ in the search box.

SANTA ROSA FUND CONTACTS
Chair:

Pete Mayston, Rose Cottage, Tuckermarsh, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HB
Tel. 01822 840297
Email: mayston@waitrose.com
Secretary:
Lorna & Martin Legg, Rock Cottage, Morwell Cross, Gulworthy, Tavistock, Devon PL19
8JH, Tel. 01822 833934
Email: tavyleggs@hotmail.com
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, 51 West St., Tavistock, Devon PL19 8JZ
Tel. 01822 617504
Email: mmowforth@plymouth.ac.uk

PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER
SRF Newsletter June 2007, p.8