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Registered Charity No. 1028085

Issue 35, June 2010

Supporting educational initiatives and projects in Nicaragua

Santa Rosa Fund pays for new washing area for Santa Rosa School pupils

Pupils at the new washing point at the Santa Rosa School, May 2010. (Story on next page.) SRF Newsletter 35 June 2010, p.1

New washing facilities at Santa Rosa School
In November 2009 the headteacher at the Santa Rosa School, María Elizabeth Aragón Roa, asked the Santa Rosa Fund if we would be able to pay for the work required to build a new hand-washing area in the school. The request was accompanied by a Project Plan and budget showing that the works would cost US$235 (approx. £160). It also explained that the pipes currently providing water in the washroom - an integral part of the toilet area - were being fractured by the roots of the huge guanacaste tree, which is such an important element of the school, not least for the shade it offers. The SRF trustees wondered how the cost of building such a block could be kept so low, and the answer lay in the fact that the building work was carried out, in time-honoured tradition at the school, by the parents of the school‟s pupils. It was clear to the school that the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education had other priorities and that money for this new block would not be forthcoming. The trustees agreed that this was a necessity for the school and transferred the money with the annual transfer of monies to Nicaragua.

News of other projects supported by the Santa Rosa Fund
Quincho Barrilete Association
In March this year, the Santa Rosa Fund received a copy of the Quincho Barrilete Association‟s report for the second half of 2009. We have not yet managed to produce a translation of the report, This work is crucial for society as well as for the individuals themselves, and it is for this reason that in their meeting in May the SRF trustees decided to donate a further US$360 to the organisation, doubling our usual annual donation.

Los Quinchos Project, La Chureca (Managua’s dump)
Also in March this year, the Fund received Gill Holmes‟ report of her fourth visit to the Los Quinchos project which gives a decent meal, a basic education and a small degree of protection to the children who work by scavenging materials from the capital city‟s municipal dump. Gill has featured in many of our newsletters over the years as she has fulfilled a number of roles on our behalf. Again, the report is too lengthy for us to include anything more than a very brief summary in the newsletter; but again we have included it on our website for those who would like to learn more about this project. For those without access to the web, we will be happy to provide a hard copy of the report upon request. In April the Los Quinchos project featured in a short article in The Guardian Weekly, and this can also be found on the SRF website.

Students at the Quincho Congress on HIV/AIDS Prevention playing a board game that illustrates issues of sexual and reproductive health

but for the Spanish speakers we have put it up onto the Fund‟s website – For the non-Spanish speakers, the essence of the report is in the outline of the events and conferences that the organisation arranges for the children and adolescents it works with. The Quincho Barrilete Association now works in Managua, mostly with children and adolescents who are suffering abuse of one form or another. Much of its work involves sex education for these vulnerable youngsters.

SRF Newsletter 35 June 2010, p.2

education to the children which The Guardian Weekly article describes as having “old people‟s faces and grubby little bodies.”

Street Child World Cup
The excitement of the current football World Cup may have obscured an event which took place in March this year, also in South Africa. A whole team of formerly homeless youth now living at Casa Alianza Nicaragua in Managua recently participated in the 2010 Street Child World Cup in Durban, South Africa where they had great success, winning matches against Ukraine, India, and their hosts, the South African team before finally losing in the semi-finals. India were the eventual winners of the tournament.

Los Quinchos security guard Javier with Berman and Chepe in the background

One of the points made in Gill‟s report is that Wales NSC (Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign) has agreed to try to cover the 6% rise in the minimum wage so that Los Quinchos can continue to employ seven workers. This was one of the reasons why the SRF trustees agreed in May to send another £100 to the Wales NSC appeal for the Los Quinchos project. In fact, the Wales NSC is unable to cover the full costs of the wage bill and the project relies on the support of solidarity groups elsewhere in the world. Work on capping and sealing the landfill dump has now begun, but just under a half of the site will continue to receive municipal garbage until August 2011. From this date a processing plant built by a Spanish company Tragsa together with Nicaraguan companies will process the rubbish.

Casa Alianza Nicaragua team in Durban, South Africa

Initiated by the Amos Trust, and supported by numerous partners including the BMS Mission and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Casa Alianza team‟s trip was wholly financed by Casa Alianza UK and a plethora of British benefactors. Special thanks go to Poonam Sattee, a Trustee of Casa Alianza UK, who volunteered to coordinate the fundraising and logistical elements to make this all possible.
A girl looks for anything that can be re-used on La Chureca landfill site

The Los Quinchos project will continue even after the full closure of the site, for as long as street children are found in Managua. The Nicaraguan government has declared 2011 as the year after which there will be no more street children in Nicaragua, but few people think that this is achievable. In the meantime projects such as Los Quinchos will need more funds and support to ensure its ability to continue providing a basic daily meal, medical attention and a very basic

Before the event, Sir Alex Ferguson said, “No child should have to live on the streets and I fully endorse this campaign giving street children a voice to claim their rights.” In the past, the Santa Rosa Fund has supported Casa Alianza which has centres for homeless children in a number of cities in the Americas, including Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. To make a donation to the charity, visit their website at

SRF Newsletter 35 June 2010, p.3

Computing at the Santa Rosa School
Our regular readers and supporters will be aware that in 2006 the Santa Rosa Fund (with the help of the British embassy in Costa Rica) provided several computers and related equipment to the Santa Rosa School in Managua. Since that time, the Fund has also supported the school in maintaining the computers and ensuring that they are used as fully as possible, This has meant providing the resources for members of staff to attend training courses and also sending volunteers from the UK who can train members of staff on a oneto-one basis – see the next page for details of two volunteers who will be visiting the school in July and August this year. The Fund has also paid a small monthly fee to Gill Holmes, who lives and works in Managua, to act as something of a computing trouble-shooter for the school. Her role has involved liaising with the company which carries out the half-yearly service of the machines, ensuring that the machines are in working order, purchasing cartridges and other equipment as necessary, and serving as the first line of enquiry and action when things go wrong. More recently she has been transferring her skills to two members of staff who will take over her role at the school.
Gill Holmes with her daughter Ana Luisa

It was always the intention of the Fund, the school and of Gill that her job should eventually be taken over by the

school and that total responsibility for the computer equipment and its operation should be transferred to the school. It should not be surprising that, at a school where no members of staff were accustomed to using computers, it has taken about four years for the transfer of responsibility to be achieved. Last year whilst Sue and Ken Martin were giving computer training to members of staff at the school, they identified Darling Martínez and Mayra Calderón as the most advanced of their trainees. It was clear that these two would be able to take on the responsibilities which Gill had shouldered for some time. But there was still much to do. First, approval had to be given by the headteacher María Elizabeth; then there was uncertainty about whether Darling would still be at the school when the new year began in February 2010; then a division of responsibilities had to be made (with the Mayra Calderón help of Gill); then a fee (to be paid by the SRF) had to be agreed - $15 each per month for both Darling and Mayra; and then a fairly intensive period of transfer of job skills from Gill to Mayra and Darling had to be made. And since April when the handover occurred, we are pleased to report that there have been no major problems experienced. The latest email from Mayra tells us that she and Darling have now begun to pass on their skills to groups of pupils from the 6th grade. Naturally, we are extremely pleased about this and look forward to more news of this development. Internet or not internet Although the Santa Rosa School now has computers, it is still some way off getting access to the worldwide web. The staff at the school do not yet see this as a priority, particularly because their telephone link with the outside world has not been operational for the last two years. No doubt access to the internet will rise in the priority list when their telephone link is restored. In the meantime, the trustees of the Santa Rosa Fund are well aware of the likely future need for such a link and are keeping their eyes on the situation.
Darling Martínez

SRF Newsletter 35 June 2010, p.4

Volunteers at the Santa Rosa School this summer
Rachael Wright from Egginton, Derby, and Amy Haworth Johns from London, will follow four weeks in a language school in Costa Rica with six weeks training members of staff at the Santa Rosa School in computing skills. They have both just finished a degree in Geography at the University of Plymouth and will doubtless write a report about their experiences in Central America for our next newsletter at the end of the year. Early in June, just before they left for Costa Rica, they met up with former Santa Rosa Amy (on the left) and Rachael volunteers Sue and Ken Martin (2009) and Doug Specht and James Watson (volunteers from 2007) for an exchange of ideas and thoughts about the experience of visiting the school and Central America, and for a drink of course.

L. to R. back row: Rachael, Doug, James, June Mowforth; front row: Ken, Sue, Amy.

Cutting our costs - POSTAGE
Our regular readers will already know that the Santa Rosa Fund is proud of the fact that so little of its expenditure is accounted for by administrative costs – see the enclosed set of accounts for 2009. In an effort to cut costs even further, however, you will note from the delivery of this edition that we are now using A5 envelopes rather than A4 because of the extra postage costs incurred by A4 envelopes. This means that we have to fold the newsletter which may affect its presentation. Apologies for this, but we the trustees think that the very slight loss of quality is more than matched by the saving. Please feel free to let us know if you disagree.

Cutting our costs - EMAIL NEWS
The trustees do not wish to stop sending out hard copies of the newsletter; indeed, we see it as a crucial means of communicating our message. But if anyone finds email receipt of the newsletters more convenient, please let us know so that we can add your email address to the small but growing list of email recipients. It will of course save us some postage costs meaning that more of your money can get to its intended destination. Our membership secretary, Martin Mowforth – see contact details on back page - keeps a list of email addresses of supporters who wish to receive the newsletter electronically. He also wishes to start an e-list of addresses of people who would like to receive notification of our fund raising and awareness raising events by email. Again, please contact him if you would like to receive electronic notification rather than postal notification.

Cutting our costs - STANDING ORDERS
Again, the trustees of the Fund are aware that some of our donors prefer to send a cheque rather than committing to a standing order payment, but we are keen that those for whom this is not an issue to consider taking out a standing order to the benefit of the Santa Rosa Fund. It saves you some hassle and allows us to plan our future funding more securely.

Cutting our costs – EVENTS AND SPONSORSHIP

SRF Newsletter 35 June 2010, p.5

The Santa Rosa Fund holds two or three fund-raising events per year, but we don‟t want to give the impression that we are stuck in the rut of just these regular events. We are very open to consider the possibility of organising other events or simply to have events arranged for us. If you have any great ideas about fund-raising events, please feel free to approach any of the trustees about it. And if you want to do something yourself for sponsorship in aid of the Fund, please feel free to do so. We will support you all we can.

SRF Funding Support in 2010
Last November, the trustees of the Santa Rosa Fund met to discuss the allocation of funding to educational projects, initiatives and causes in Nicaragua in 2010. The Fund has two major partners within Nicaragua, the Santa Rosa School in Managua and the Berriz Missionary Sisters who are based in the town of El Viejo and work in the region of the Cosigüina Peninsula, in NW Nicaragua. For 2010 these two partner organisations received the bulk of the SRF‟s annual allocation of money, as follows: A. The Santa Rosa School received a total of US$3,735 (approx. £2,490) which covers:

$1,500 for the monthly purchases of educational materials for the school – purchases and
deliveries made by our representative in Managua, René Zamora. $750 for the general school fund – previously donated as three mini-funds for the training of teachers, school journeys and assistance to families who could not afford the cost of uniforms. $1,200 to cover all computer costs at the school for the first half of 2010 - see report and news earlier in this newsletter. $235 for the cost of the new washing facilities – see above. $50 to Liz Light (a resident of Managua) for receiving the international bank transfer in her account and delivering it to the school. B. The Berriz Missionary Sisters received a total of US$8,400 (approx. £5,600) made up of:

$7,000 – 3 years ago the Santa Rosa Fund changed its policy of making small donations to many
different projects in the Cosigüina Peninsula run by the Berriz Sisters; instead the Fund now makes an annual donation to the Sisters who then make the decisions about how that amount is to be allocated to the projects they run. $1,400 for the continuing education of nine children in the remote village of Los Pozitos. C. The Quincho Barrilete Association received the usual annual amount of US$360. Additionally, in May the trustees agreed to the disbursement of a further US$1,390 (approx £927) to be allocated as follows: D. $580 to the Santa Rosa School to cover computing costs in the second half of 2010. E. $360 as a further donation for 2010 to the Quincho Barrilete Association. F. $150 to the Los Quinchos project on Managua‟s La Chureca dump (via Wales NSC). G. $300 (as a maximum) to cover legitimate expenses incurred by this year‟s volunteers at the school – see report earlier in this newsletter. The grand total disbursed for the year 2010 is therefore US$13,885 (approx. £9,257).

SRF Newsletter 35 June 2010, p.6

Fund-raising news
Quiz Night
Yet another of our famous quiz nights – famous thanks to our quizmaster, Malcolm Medhurst – proved to be a great success in March this year. Amongst the 17 teams entered, names included „Grumpy Old Greens‟, „Positively Perplexed‟, „Old Trouts‟, „On expenses‟ and „MP3‟. The quiz was eventually won by „Bereheads‟ who saw off a close challenge from „The Stooges‟. As always, the race for the wooden spoon was just as hotly contested between „MP3‟ and „3‟s a Crowd‟, „MP3‟ finally gaining the much-coveted prize. It was another fun evening with everyone in party spirit, and with a few in earnest concentration. Good fun was had by all, and the Fund raised a total of £370. Thanks to all those who took part, especially those who helped to sell coffee, tea and the cakes that were made by Pat B. and Pat M., and the raffle sellers and donors of raffle prizes. Our greatest thanks of course are reserved for Malcolm and Judith Medhurst for the remarkable amount of time they must have invested in the preparation of the quiz.

Sport Relief Day
Also in March was the Sport Relief Fun Run. In West Devon this was held in Okehampton and the Santa Rosa Fund held a stall during the day. Not much money was raised (£14), but just to have a presence at such events helps to raise the profile of the charity. Thanks to all those who staffed the stall.

Acoustic Café
Saturday 29th May saw the Acoustic Café event in Tavistock held for the benefit of the Santa Rosa Fund. The Fund is grateful to Jeff Sleeman, Annette and other organisers for their efforts and to all the musicians who played. The audience was especially delighted with the excellent flamenco guitar played by Tim and Matt of Gadjo Guitars and by Pom for his remarkable guitar playing during the second half of the evening. We are grateful too for the energy of all those who helped serve the food in the kitchen, donated prizes for the raffle and helped to clear up after the event. The Fund received a sum of £200 from the Acoustic Café organisation and £36 was made on the raffle.

Gill Gorbutt
Santa Rosa Fund members who are based in West Devon and who knew Gill Gorbutt – see obituary in last SRF Newsletter – will probably like to know that the Fund received a sum of £913 from the donations made at Gill‟s funeral. At Gill‟s bequest the monies received were shared amongst the Santa Rosa Fund, Tamwed, the Macmillan Nursing Fund and The Tavistock Memory Café. SRF Newsletter 35 June 2010, p.7

Food distribution for school children in Nicaragua
In February, when schools began a new school year, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education (MINED) initiated its Integral School Nutrition Programme - or as it is more widely known, the national school meals programme. The overall aim of the programme is to improve the quality of education, to lower drop-out levels and to improve youth nutrition, especially within the poorest municipalities. Amelia Tiffer, MINED‟s director of the programme, explained that, “the food [is] distributed every fifty days and the amount [is] determined by enrolment data reports completed by the different municipal delegations.” The portions supply each student with 145 grams of food, which contain approximately 600 calories. The meals include rice, beans, tortilla and cereal. Additionally, in the Northern Atlantic Autonomous Region they also include a glass of milk, which is part of a donation by the World Food Programme. The Santa Rosa School does not have kitchens in which the food can be prepared, and so the portions are weighed out and distributed once a week to each family according to their number of children. The picture on the left shows the miniwarehouse that the school has adapted in order to store the sacks of rice and beans. Cooking oil and salt are also part of the food distributed. Another component of the programme is the creation of school gardens. The hope is to increase the number of gardens from 1,400 to 1,800 this year, with the goal of teaching students how to work the land and improve their diets with the vegetables they produce.

With this newsletter, our readers will also find a copy of the Fund’s accounts for 2009.

Chair: Pete Mayston, Rose Cottage, Tuckermarsh, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HB Tel. 01822 840297 Email: Secretary: Currently vacant Treasurer: Pat Mayston – as for Pete (above) Twinning links representative: Rick Blower, Cloberry Cottage, Brentor, Tavistock, Devon PL19 0NG Tel. 01822 810600 Email: Membership secretary: Martin Mowforth, 51 West St., Tavistock, Devon PL19 8JZ Tel. 01822 617504 Email:


SRF Newsletter 35 June 2010, p.8