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Registered Charity No. 1028085 Issue 36, November 2010
Supporting educational initiatives and projects in Nicaragua

More volunteers work at

the Santa Rosa School

In July and August this

In the photograph here,
year, the Santa Rosa
School received three from left to right, they
volunteers to assist in are:
the training of teachers Karla Solis Espinoza
and pupils in the use of Amy Haworth Johns
computers at the and
school. Rachael Wright.

They helped the two The report of their time

teachers who are now at the school and in
in charge of computing
Nicaragua starts on the
at the school, Mayra
following page.
Calderón and Darling

SRF Newsletter 36 November 2010, p.1

SRF Volunteers, 2010
The Santa Rosa Fund is very grateful to Karla, Amy and Rachael who this year carried out computer
training with pupils and staff at the school in Managua. Amy and Rachael had just graduated from
Plymouth University – and heard of their results, both Upper Seconds, whilst in Central America.

Karla, who is Nicaraguan but lives in New York and attends City University New
York, found out about the Santa Rosa Fund and its search for volunteers from a
chance surfing on the worldwide web. Even more serendipitous was the fact that
Karla had attended the Santa Rosa School in Managua from the age of 10 to 12
prior to moving with some of her family to New York. She returns to Managua for
two months each year and this year the Santa Rosa Fund was fortunate that her
time there partially overlapped with that of Amy and Rachael. Being bilingual,
Karla‟s role was to assist Amy and Rachael with any communication and
Karla Solis Espinoza logistical problems that they met whilst there. As well as helping them at the
school, Karla was always at the end of a telephone for them. The Fund is ever
so grateful to Karla for her help, and we look forward to working with her in future years if she
continues to visit Managua.

Amy and Rachael have written a very full report for the Fund‟s website, and you can find it on the
volunteers page of the website A much-shortened version of
that report is given below.

Summer 2010 volunteer placement with the Santa Rosa Fund in the
Colegio Público Santa Rosa, Managua, Nicaragua - Summary Report.
By Amy Haworth Johns and Rachael Wright

We arrived in Central America in early June and spent a month in Costa Rica at the Intercultura
Language School to provide us with a solid base of Spanish language. Being near the sea this was the
„vacation‟ part of our summer! The school was excellent and after 4 short weeks we were familiar
with the present, past and future tenses and ready to progress and start work.

After leaving Costa Rica we spent a week in Nicaragua and were able to visit multiple other projects
that receive funding from both the Santa Rosa Fund and ENCA (Environmental Network for Central
America), especially in the NW of Nicaragua in the
Cosigüina Peninsula. The Youth Centre in El Viejo is a
recipient of help from both the Santa Rosa Fund and their
partners, the Berriz Missionary Sisters in El Viejo. The
project is currently highly successful and running workshops
for youths and adolescents in sexual education and running a
„girls only‟ radio station which is broadcast in the El Viejo
region and neighbouring communities. Run by the female
workers and students that attend the centre it provides a
weekly informal introduction to sex education and support
for the campaign of female sexual security. The centre is in William Vargas talking with Amy and Rachael
extremely good condition and currently has 3 classrooms and a sports pitch of which they are
extremely proud. Their latest requirement for funding is $30,000 to build a roof over the sports pitch
to allow an extended playing season throughout the wet season months. It is run by the young William

SRF Newsletter 36 November 2010, p.2

Vargas - he brings real vitality and life to the project and is responsible, along with his colleagues, for
the current success of the centre.

We returned to Managua for the 19th July celebrations for the

31st anniversary of the revolution and removal of the fascist
Somoza dictatorship. The event brought over 500,000 people to
the banks of Lake Managua. The streets leading to the Plaza
were full of the Red and Black of the Sandinista party and
echoed with the revolutionary songs associated with the
Triumph of 19th July 1979. Being four of the very few white
people in the crowd we attracted a LOT of attention, but the day
passed without dramas and we left with a number of new
friendships especially with protective under-cover (but armed)
policemen! The day was a great experience if not a plunge into the deep end of Managua and an
excellent introduction to the vivid political history of the city.

Before we were due to start work at the Colegio we were able to visit another project which receives
funding from the SRF and which works for the protection of vulnerable children. The Quincho
Barrilete Association is located in downtown Managua and provides classes and child and parental
counselling in areas around the city with high levels of child abuse. Until a recent change in policy the
project was able to provide children at high-risk of abuse (both physical and sexual) with overnight
refuge, and the headquarters still has room for up to 10 children staying at one time. Following a
change in policy regarding street children, however, it is now illegal for Quincho Barrilete to offer
overnight refuge. So the organisation‟s focus is now aimed at addressing the root cause of abuse
within the community. The staff work particularly with children, parents and leading community
figures. Although this change was in the interest of reducing the number of children living on the
streets of Managua, it now means that those experiencing unbearable abuse are unable to be provided
with a safe refuge in centres like Quincho Barrilete and are forced to find other options for a night‟s
sleep. The group are providing a marvellous service, however, and are beginning to adapt their work
practices around the new laws. They currently work out of four centres (HQ, a run-down backroom in
a run-down school, a centre for victims of sexual abuse and their Centre for Skills Training for

Rachael and I began our work with the staff of the Santa
Rosa School on Wednesday 21 st July and were welcomed
with a wonderful ceremony that other volunteers will have
experienced. It was a wonderful experience and under teacher
Modesto‟s tuition the students performed a number of
folkloric dances and read out speeches of welcome.
Our daily routine consisted of morning lessons with students
of ages 11-16 who spent a week with us and worked through
basic skills of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Through
story writing we introduced the students to the manipulation Pupils saying ‘Bienvenido’
of text (colour, font, size, bullet points, etc), insertion of
pictures, text boxes and information from other documents and programmes to simulate copying and
pasting from the internet. We also took a few students for an hour at the local internet café to show
them some basics and allow them to explore the internet.

SRF Newsletter 36 November 2010, p.3

Morning lessons with the students lasted from 9.50-11.15 and
were then followed by lessons with both the librarians (Luz
Marina and Martha). After an hour break for lunch, both
Rachael and I had lessons with members of staff - during our
six weeks I worked with Esperanza who progressed in leaps and
bounds and we advanced to creating fractions, animated
PowerPoints, timetables and advanced typing. Towards the mid
to end stages of our time there Rachael began lessons with
Maritza the morning cleaner, who progressed really well and
provided us with hilarity and delight for the end of our day.

The pupils rotated each week but we had the same teachers throughout our six weeks. The pupils
created their own stories through which we introduced them to a basic understanding of Word, Paint
and PowerPoint. We also worked on lessons on Mecanet, a programme designed to improve typing

The teachers all had varying levels of skills and some of them had never previously used a computer
whilst others had previous training. We designed lessons to suit each teacher and worked through
skills on Word, PowerPoint, Paint, Excel, printing and use of the internet.

The Headteacher, María Elizabeth Aragón Roa, has introduced a

computer logging system for students using computers which
had started in April of this year; forty students have used the
computers during this time period. Lengths of time on computer
and reasons for using are logged by students. Some students use
the computers at school to print information they collected off
the internet using their own memory sticks. However the school
has no memory sticks that teachers and pupils can use and this
might be an item for future SRF funding to provide computer
access to more machine users. Rachael with one of her pupils

During our time in the school we created a collection of study guides with visual and written (in
Spanish) step-by-step guides to skills ranging from typing practice and changing font to the insertion
of fractions and equations into Word and PowerPoint. These guides along with all of our students‟
work have been left with the school in the hands of Mayra and Darling.

Between classes we spent time with Marcia, Claudia, Mayra and the children of the school. While our
Spanish was sometimes misunderstood, it got us through classes and allowed us to form bonds with
both our students and others in the school.

We spent much of our time there with Marcia the sub-director and Mayra the secretary, both of whom
made us really welcome and cared for us during our time
at the school (with Marcia often becoming our Managuan
mother and adopting the role of worrying about us during
our weekend trips away). At weekends we were able to
leave Managua and see a bit more of Nicaragua. We
caught chicken buses to Granada, San Juan and Masaya
and grew to love the hilarity of travelling in Managua,
being swept from taxi to bus to taxi to destination without
a second to pause. Being able to leave Managua meant that
we could have breaks and visit places that were much
L to R: Rachael, Karla, Marcia, María Dolores easier to explore - the dependency on taxis in Managua

SRF Newsletter 36 November 2010, p.4

began to feel a tad constricting and it was lovely to be able to WALK around the towns of Granada
and Masaya and feel safe when enjoying the nightlife of San Juan del Sur.

Our three months spent in Central America were greatly enjoyed, and we hope our time at the school
left our students and new-found friends with the same sense of joy and achievement with which we
left Managua.

Results of the volunteers’ labours

Two sheets prepared by Amy and Rachael‟s trainees included the following examples, the first (on the
left below) by Marcia Ordeñana and the second by Gloria Solórzano.

7th September 2010

From Mayra Calderón (secretary at the Santa Rosa School and jointly in charge of computing at the

“This letter is to thank you for the support of the young women, Amy and Rachael. They have carried
out excellent work with the teachers and pupils of the school.”

Thank you Amy, Rachael and Karla.

SRF Newsletter 36 November 2010, p.5

Reports on other SRF funded projects
In their report, Amy and Rachael have already mentioned both the Quincho Barrilete Association and
the Youth Centre in El Viejo, but a few additional snippets of news of both projects are given here,
partly because both projects are seeking extra funding for specific purposes. The SRF trustees will be
considering these possibilities at their 2011 funding meeting on 24 th November, 2010.

Quincho Barrilete Association

This summer, the Fund was able to deliver its small annual grant of US$360 to the Quincho Barrilete
Association in person.

We were greeted by Manuel Espinoza who is the coordinator of the Association‟s outreach team, partly
because María Consuelo Sánchez, director of the organisation, is currently receiving treatment for cancer in
Florida. As well as giving our visiting group a presentation about the work of the Association and how it has
changed recently under the Nicaraguan government‟s Ministry of the
Family, Manuel took us to see a run-down, dark and depressing room
which they use to give a little bit of care, attention, protection and
education to some of the younger street children who inhabit the
dangerous alleyways and streets of Managua‟s Eastern Market.

More than anything, what this classroom needs is a can of paint, a bit of
cement to block up the holes through which the animals enter, a more
secure door and some equipment (currently, Quincho cannot store material
Manuel Espinoza of Quincho in the room there because of the lack of security). The SRF trustees will be
they are hoping to use for the very young
street kids of the Eastern Market of considering this request at their 2011 finance meeting on 24th November –
Managua more or less the time when you receive this newsletter.

A much fuller report of our visit to Quincho is given on the Fund‟s website:

El Viejo Youth Centre

In April this year, Sister Rosario of the Berriz Missionary Sisters based in the town of El Viejo emailed the
Santa Rosa Fund to ask if we knew of any source of US$30,000. This was the sum they needed in order to build
a roof over the basketball / volleyball / football / multi-purpose sports pitch plus tiered seating area (shown in
the photo) that attracts so many young people to the centre. During the rainy season – especially in a
particularly rainy season like this year‟s when it rains every day – the youths simply don‟t turn up which means
that both the indoor and outdoor facilities at the centre are drastically under-used. The nuns and William
Vargas, the centre‟s director, see the roof as crucial to its success.

Obviously the amount of US$30,000 puts the project well beyond the
means of the Santa Rosa Fund - and as it happens, the nuns have found
the funds from elsewhere – or at least most of the total. When we last
visited the centre in September, they lacked just $3,500 for the electrics
under the roof. But they decided to go ahead with the construction
anyway and work began on 16th September. Given that most of the SRF‟s
money is already committed to our annual causes, $3,500 is still well beyond our means, but we said that we
would mention it in our newsletter in case our supporters included any wealthy philanthropists who needed a
good cause for their surplus money!

Any takers?

SRF Newsletter 36 November 2010, p.6

Los Pozitos

The Santa Rosa Fund has been supporting the education of the children of the tiny remote village of Los
Pozitos since 2003, and last year we gave a small monthly supplement to the woefully inadequate salary of the
primary school teacher who attended the village, as well as paying for the Saturday secondary education of nine
pupils who otherwise would not be able to continue their education. (To get to their Saturday school in El Viejo
the pupils have to travel for two hours.) The payments are made through the nuns of the Berriz Missionary
Sisters whose base is in the town of El Viejo.

At the end of this year, two of the nine youths will be finishing their secondary education, leaving seven of the
original number still requiring assistance to get to their Saturday secondary classes. But four pupils at the
primary school in Los Pozitos are also finishing their
primary education, and three of these wish to continue
into secondary. This makes a total of ten pupils who
are now seeking assistance to attend the Saturday
secondary classes. The Santa Rosa Fund is therefore
trying to raise an extra US$1,530 (approximately
£1,100) to enable these pupils to progress into
secondary education. If we can raise it, we shall
transfer the funds to the nuns in the town of El Viejo,
and Sister Abdontxu will administer and disburse the
money as appropriate.
Lunch with the Berriz Sisters, September 2010 – from Left to Right:
Genna West (visitor from the UK); Sister Abdontxu (Spain); 3
We are still uncertain about the status of the primary
Mexican volunteers, Xochil, Pía and Paola; Sister Sandra
school in the village and whether the Ministry of
(Guatemala); Sister Rosvia (Guatemala); Sister Iliana (Ecuador)
Education will provide a teacher for the village. If so,
it seems likely that it will be on the same basis as for 2010, which means that a small supplement to the salary
will be required as the teacher will not be paid on a full-time basis (last year we paid a monthly supplement of
US$20 to the primary teacher).

Bruce Harris – Obituary

Bruce Harris, former executive director of Casa Alianza, died of cancer on 30 th
May 2010 in his home in Florida at the age of 55. Born in Scotland, he was a
tireless and fearless advocate for the rights of vulnerable children.

Casa Alianza provides food, shelter, vocational training, medical aid and legal aid
to homeless children in Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. He
dedicated his life to ending the persecution, torture and routine murder of street
children in Guatemala and Honduras. As a result of his work, nearly 400 cases
were brought to trial in countries where impunity generally reigns. He also helped
to obtain rulings against Central American governments by the Inter-American
Commission of Human Rights. He exposed the „sex tourism racket‟ in Costa Rica, which is still a major child-
sex tourist destination. In Guatemala, he exposed the wealthy lawyers and oligarchs who benefitted from the
illegal adoptions scam.

For this work he received numerous awards including the Olof Palme prize in 1996 and the Conrad N. Hilton
Humanitarian Prize in 2000. In 1991 he was named a „Hero of Human Rights‟ by Amnesty International.

He was known to the Santa Rosa Fund, first through his reception of our touring group of trustees and
supporters in 1997 – we met him in San José where he and our group had a long and critical discussion about
the work of Casa Alianza; and second through the suggestions he made to the Fund in 2000 for a more
streamlined means of getting aid out to those who need it in Central America.

His fierce dedication and courage were an inspiration to all who know of the work of Casa Alianza.

SRF Newsletter 36 November 2010, p.7

Laptops Memory sticks / data sticks / USB sticks

Are you upgrading to a new laptop whilst the old Do you use memory sticks to store your data and
one is still in working order? If the old one still has files? If so, do you still have some of the first
a few years of useful life in it, rather than just ditch ones that we used when they first came into being
it, you could donate it to the Santa Rosa School in – that is, those with only 128 Kb or 256Kb of
Managua. We are thinking of ways of increasing the space? And have you now moved on to use the 1,
access to computers for the pupils and staff at the 2, 4 and 8 Gigabyte sticks? If so, this may mean
school, but we want items which can be carried that you no longer use and no longer need the
from the UK to Nicaragua by an individual – so sticks of smaller size, in which case could you
laptops are required rather than full system donate them to the Santa Rosa School in
computers. Get in touch – see contacts box below. Managua? Get in touch – see contacts box below.

A date for your diary - Saturday 19th February 2011

Whitchurch Village Hall (near Tavistock)

Gadjo Guitares (acoustic and Spanish guitar) + Rob Shepherd (Tom Lehrer songs and guitar)

Renewal of your support for the Santa Rosa Fund and Gift Aid
This is the time of year when we ask our readers to renew their support for the Santa Rosa Fund again, and to
that end we enclose with this newsletter a renewal slip. Please ignore this if you have already taken out a
standing order in favour of the Fund – and perhaps use the sheet for your telephone pad.
Many thanks to all our supporters who Gift Aid their donations. Each year for the last few years Gift Aid has
contributed roughly an extra £1000 to our income and last year this amounted to about 10% of our total income.
So if you are a UK tax payer, perhaps you would consider making your donation worth quite a lot more to the
Santa Rosa Fund. Donations by standing order enable us to plan our spending more effectively and these now
amount to over £3,500 per year – we are very grateful for this steady income.
Thanks again to everybody for your generous donations and continued commitment to the Santa Rosa Fund.

Anyone interested in becoming a trustee?

The SRF currently has 12 trustees, which is enough for our decision-making, but new blood and ideas
are always welcome especially from young people. If you would like to join this small group of
people and to involve yourself in real, on-the-ground development issues, contact any of the people
listed below.


Chair: Pete Mayston, Rose Cottage, Tuckermarsh, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HB
Tel. 01822 840297 Email:
Secretary: Position currently rotating
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 36 November 2010, p.8