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Registered Charity No. 1028085

Issue 37, July 2011

Supporting educational initiatives and projects in Nicaragua

A new roof on the El Viejo Youth Centre

(News and story on page 2.) SRF Newsletter 37, July 2011, p.1

El Viejo gets a new roof

When our partner organisation in the Cosigina Peninsula of Nicaragua, the Berriz Sisters, asked us in early 2010 if the Santa Rosa Fund would be able to find $30,000 to build a new roof on the El Viejo Youth Centre so that it could be used during the rainy season, they and we knew that there was no chance. But later in the year we were encouraged to hear that the Sisters had managed to raise the required funds from Spain and the Netherlands and that work on the structure would begin in September (2010). Then in October (2010), we received a request from the Sisters for a further $3,500 for the purchase and installation of the lighting system below the new roof. Again, we had to disappoint as the funds we had raised during 2010 had fallen short of our usual amount for the year. In fact, we also had to reduce our annual contribution to the educational programmes run by the Sisters from $7,000 to $5,000. But in our last newsletter, we did put out an appeal for the required amount from any individual supporter of the SRF who might happen across such a quantity of money. Amazingly, it happened. At the time of receiving the SRF Newsletter, one of our regular supporters (who wishes to remain anonymous) was on the point of making a decision about how to use the funds from the estate of her brother who had recently died. She responded to the newsletter appeal and the amount required for the installation of the electrics below the roof was duly transferred to the Sisters account in Nicaragua. For other reasons, two of the Funds trustees, June and Martin Mowforth, were in Central America in April and were able to fit in a visit to El Viejo and the Youth Centre there. They sent the following report back to the other trustees and to the donor who provided the funding for the electrics.
The small-scale floodlights

Visit in April We visited the El Viejo Centro Recreativo (Youth Centre) this morning with Sisters Sandra and Rosvia, and we spoke with William Daz Vargas, the Centres director. There were no youths there partly because it was just after 8 am and partly because the building work is still ongoing and they have reduced its usage for sports whilst some piles of building materials are still very much in evidence on the court/pitch. The roof is excellent and we could see why it cost so much. The lighting is also powerful and they are a little concerned about the amount of energy it will use, so they are planning an energy regime which will conserve its use and are also planning a number of ways of funding higher electricity bills. For instance, one of the building works being planned is a small drop-in cafe for the youths in which they will pay for drinks and snacks. The plaque listing the donors is also excellent. It is not fixed yet because they still have to decide on a location for it, but it is currently propped up with all their sports trophies. Every time we visit, we are more impressed by the quiet authority exuded by William and his organisational skills. SRF Newsletter 37, July 2011, p.2

The SRFs other funding in 2011

With this newsletter you will find an enclosure which gives details of the Santa Rosa Funds accounts for 2010. We guess that our supporters would also like to know what monies we sent out in January to the projects that we support in Nicaragua for the coming year now half way through 2011. In summary, those monies are as follows: Santa Rosa School (Managua), our original twinning link: made up of: monthly stationery purchases general school fund computer running expenses computer responsibility fees (2 teachers) Educational projects run by the Berriz Sisters (El Viejo) (this covers a wide range of projects) Support for the schooling of the children of Los Pozitos village (this money administered by the Berriz Sisters) Quincho Barrilete Association (street children projects, Managua) Total $ 3,310 $1,500 $ 750 $ 700 $ 360 $ 5,000

$ 1,400



This amount, transferred in January, was down on previous years because of a shortfall in funds raised during 2010. This was most probably a reflection of the continuing global financial crisis causing our supporters to rein in their spending. In terms of our annual commitments to projects in Nicaragua, we had to reduce our contribution towards the educational work of the Berriz Sisters by $2,000 (down from our usual commitment of $7,000) and we withdrew funding for computer training programmes for the staff of the Santa Rosa School previously funded to the tune of $1,300 for half-yearly training courses for eight members of staff. But we have been very fortunate to be able to offset these shortfalls thanks to two things. First, as mentioned on the previous page, an anonymous SRF supporter responded to our previous newsletters appeals for assistance to cover the costs of the lighting under the new roof at the El Viejo Youth Centre ($3,500) and the costs of room decoration and equipment for the Quincho Barrilete Associations classroom on the edge of the Eastern Market of Managua ($1,500). We are extremely grateful for this assistance. It has made a difference. Second, the first four months of this year saw a revival in the fund-raising fortunes of the SRF. This is normally a time of the year when we receive little income, but that has changed for 2011. So we have been able to send out to the Berriz Sisters the $2,000 missing from our usual annual commitment to their work. We also sent a further 100 to Wales NSC for their support of the education of the children who survive on La Chureca, Managuas municipal waste dump. This extra income at the beginning of the year is probably due to our treasurers efforts to persuade many of our supporters to donate by standing order. We are very pleased to have been able to meet all our usual funding commitments for the year, even if a bit late. Now the race is on to raise enough funds to meet our normal commitments for 2012.

SRF Newsletter 37, July 2011, p.3

Los Pozitos
Sister Abdontxu of the Berriz Sisters had also arranged for our visitors to El Viejo to meet Eloy Treminio Vega from Los Pozitos. He and Sister Abdontxu took us through the disbursement of funds for the kids from the village that we support. Of course, everything was above board and fully explained; and the Saturday education of the eight children from the village who wanted to continue classes after getting through their primary education is proceeding thanks to the funding provided by the SRF. The trustees received another request from Eloy, but it was for support for an individual to continue into a teacher training course after completing his secondary education. We discussed this with Sister Abdontxu and she was very much in agreement that this did not satisfy their or our commitment to distribute aid as widely as possible and in as sharing a way as possible. It is our policy to give aid to communities, groups or organisations rather than to

Eloy Treminio Vega


News of La Chureca
Over the last three years, the Santa Rosa Fund has supported the education of the children who live on Managuas massive municipal waste dump. We have done so by making donations to the Wales branch of the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (Wales NSC), the organisation which has committed itself to provide salary support for the workers - nurses and psychologists as well as teachers - who provide the education for the dump children. In June this year, work began on the construction of A view of La Chureca 50 of the 258 houses for the families that have lived on the dump as garbage pickers. The project is funded by $40 million from Spain and other money from the Managua city government. Also included in the plans for the new La Chureca are a health centre and a child care centre. 90% of the old dump has been levelled and covered with earth. Pipes have been installed to vent the methane gas produced by decomposition of the burned waste material. Beginning in August, a processing plant built by Spanish company Tragsa, along with national companies, is due to begin processing the waste. This will allow the final closure of the landfill site.

Quincho Barrilete Association (AQB, by its Spanish initials)

Following on from the last newsletters description of AQBs classroom on the edge of the Eastern Market of Managua, our anonymous donor was moved to donate 1,000 for the improvement of this room. The money was duly transferred in January this year, and our two trustees paid a visit to AQB during April. Their report follows.

SRF Newsletter 37, July 2011, p.4

On the day of our visit we met with Manuel Espinoza, coordinator of the social educators, and Ledia Izaguirrez, one of the social educators. They took us first to the room that they use in a school which has now been abandoned on the edge of the Eastern Market of Managua. Their room is now referred to as the Centre of Community Care (Centro de Atencin Comunitario) in the 19th July Barrio. It is in the same condition as it was when we visited in July 2010, that Ledia Izaguirrez, Uriel Mercado and is to say awful. The reason that they havent used any of Manuel Espinoza in the AQB classroom the money that the SRF gave for the purpose of improving in the Eastern Market the appearance of this room is that they are currently in negotiations to get another room in another school nearby and did not want to spend money on this one if there was a chance that they would move out of it very soon and particularly because the primary school in which it is located has now been abandoned and is unused. When we arrived there, Uriel Mercado his surname means market, very appropriate given the location was teaching four pupils, who within just a few seconds started to show their desperate need for attention. Uriel is not paid by the MINED (Ministry of Education) but receives a small honorarium of about $25 per month to do this teaching. There are eight pupils in the afternoon turn of the school. All the kids there are more or less abandoned by their parents who work in the market and in whose homes there is no food. A refrigerio refreshment time, with food is given as a part of their schooling. Some of the artwork done by these kids is terrific, but disturbing. AQB has been trying, with some success, to set up similar Centros de Atencin Comunitaria in other barrios of Managua; and the next place they took us to was such a centre in the Barrio Walter Ferretti. This was in the Escuela Solidaridad Entre Los Pueblos (Solidarity Between Peoples School) which is a school run by a womens association AMUCOBU, the Consuelo Buitrago Womens Association and not by the state. AMUCOBU has given AQB a small Some of the children in AQBs classroom in space you cant really call it a classroom in which to run the Eastern Market classes for abused and street children in that barrio, children who would not normally get a chance to go to school. AMUCOBU has made special efforts to keep this school clean, well-presented and efficiently functioning its a much better environment than the revolting one in the 19th July barrio. AQB finds enough money to pay two teachers a small honorarium. Alicia Molina is the main teacher and Marlena Peralta is the handicrafts teachers. Alicia gave us a grand tour of the whole school even though we had called only to see her class. Ledia and Manuel then took us to the Centro de Atencin Integral, Alicia Molina and which used to be called the Rehabilitation and Training Centre some Marlena Peralta years ago), which we have visited on a number of occasions in the past. There were a few children there having lunch, but some of the classrooms (for hammock making, cooking, beauty salon, handicrafts, and so on) looked unused. This probably reflects the fact that AQB is trying to decentralise its efforts to Centros de Atencin Comunitaria in each barrio rather than concentrating it all in one major centre.

SRF Newsletter 37, July 2011, p.5

News of the Santa Rosa School

The two SRF trustees visiting Nicaragua met with Mara Elizabeth Aragn, directora of the school, on 4th April. They checked some basic information about the school and asked about new programmes of work that are being followed by the teachers and pupils. They discovered that: There are now 30 members of the teaching staff at the school. The morning school has 420 pupils in attendance, mostly primary grades. The afternoon school has 205 secondary pupils and 59 primary on roll. The above numbers include a total of 132 pre-school pupils, some attending in the morning and some in the afternoon. Two new Sunday programmes of education have been instigated by the government: o The Battle for Sixth Grade programme held on Sundays between 8 am and 2 pm at the school. At the Santa Rosa School this involves six of the Schools teachers with 30 students (from various barrios). The programme is intended for anyone, including adults, who never had the chance to finish their basic primary education. The teachers are not paid for this it is entirely voluntary. o Sandino Dos programme is also held on Sundays but in another school, the Ruben Dario School in the San Luis Barrio. This is intended as secondary education for adults and youths who want to finish the technical qualifications associated with secondary education. A third government education programme also runs on a voluntary basis at the Santa Rosa School between 6 and 8 pm each evening. That is the Yo Si Puedo literacy programme. At the Santa Rosa School this is run by Roberto Ordoez, an ex-pupil of the college. The $750 which the SRF contributes towards the general school fund each year was used for: a number of fans used in the classrooms; hanging scales to weigh out the basic foods distributed to needy families each week (via the college) this is part of the governments Zero Hunger programme; a high and secure shelf for the TV in the library which is used to show DVDs in follow-up to lessons; and guide texts to help the teachers prepare teaching material for their classes.

Directora Mara Elizabeth with teachers Patricia Mendes and Pastora Canales showing their teachers curriculum books

The use of technology over the last few years has begun to change the nature of the lessons given in the school. A series of Cubanprepared DVDs are being used to provide follow-up to lessons given by the teachers on over 20 topics, and these are shown in the library. Group work by small groups of pupils is now much more in evidence one class of older students was divided into six groups which took their chairs out to different points in the yard to work as groups on a range of topics; the teachers are all very keen on the use of DVDs for their classes; the computers have opened up other possibilities for homework and study to complement the Group work at the school material from the library; library material is now used much more frequently by the teachers themselves and is also lent out to members of the public not directly associated with the school, with tight control and recording of the loans. In sum, in the opinion of the visiting trustees, the teaching at the School is now much less didactic than it used to be 20 years ago. SRF Newsletter 37, July 2011, p.6

Fund raising events

Acoustic Music Night, 19th February
Over 600 was raised for the Santa Rosa Fund at this event in Whitchurch Village Hall, which was bursting at the seams to fit everyone in. We are especially grateful to the entertainers, Rob Shepherd, for his witty ditties and Tom Lehrer revivals (and also for swelling our numbers with his following), and to Gadjo Guitares (shown on the right) for their brilliant gypsy jazz and Spanish flamenco music. Thanks also to everyone who helped in the kitchen, on the door, with the publicity (well done Jacky Rushall), with the raffle (won by former SRF trustee Martine Mills) and with the clearing up. Thanks are also due to several of our former volunteers at the school in Managua who turned up to chat with new supporters (and old ones) about their experiences Amy Haworth Johns, Sue Martin and Ken Martin.

Quiz Night, 1st April

Another enjoyable and successful quiz night was run by Malcolm Medhurst, our Quizmaster of significant renown. 17 teams braved the slide into humiliation caused by the degree of difficulty. Team names included: Rum Tuckers, Oxfactor, Senility, Colaterally Damaged, Short Planks, Uncorked, The Ignorami, Sisters Karamazov and UK Uncut. Short Planks eventually won with a score of 97, and The 4 Belles won the wooden spoon with a score of 39. The Fund raised 425, and thanks are due to everyone who took part and all those who helped with the publicity and making teas and coffees during the interval. Special thanks, of course, go as usual to Malcolm and Judy for running the quiz and especially for the amount of time they have to invest in devising the sets of questions.

(West Devon)

7:30 pm

SRF Newsletter 37, July 2011, p.7

News Briefs
Funding and sadness As reported on page 3 of this newsletter, the funds we were able to commit to the Berriz Sisters of El Viejo were down from our usual $7,000 to $5,000 in January 2011. Funds raised in the early part of this year, however, have enabled us to make good this shortfall by transferring another $2,000 to the Sisters. One of the reasons our funds have increased in the early part of this year, however, is due to generous collections made at the funerals of two of our former supporters, John Corden and Louise Walters. Our condolences go to the families of both. El Sueo Existe Festival August 12 14, Machynlleth, Wales. If any of our supporters find themselves in Central Wales during these dates, we recommend that you pay a visit to this rapidly growing festival. Run in part by Santa Rosa Fund supporter Tony Corden, it celebrates the life, poetry and music of Victor Jara. It is a fusion of Welsh and Latin American music, dance, poetry, film and politics. Its small-scale and suitable for all ages. Camping is available. Visit Contact info@elsuenoexiste for more information. Nicaragua Environmental Study Tour The NSC (Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign) is running two environmental study tours of the country from 19th November to 3rd December 2011 and from 1st to 14th June 2012. The cost of the tours will be 650 (to include preparation in the UK, accommodation, transport, all meals, interpreting in Nicaragua). Flights, airport taxes and insurance are additional. Visit More information from and/or telephone 0207 561 4836. School meals guarantee In January this year, Vice Minister of Education Marlon Siu announced that school supplies and school meals would be guaranteed for 900,000 pupils this year. School meals consist of rice, beans and oats (in the form of a beverage). Siu said that nutrition was necessary to create positive learning conditions. SANTA ROSA FUND CONTACTS
Chair: Pete Mayston, Rose Cottage, Tuckermarsh, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HB Tel. 01822 840297 Email: Secretary: Jacky Rushall, Culliford House, The Down, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HG Tel. 01822 841676 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:

PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER SRF Newsletter 37, July 2011, p.8