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SANTA ROSA FUND NEWSLETTER

Registered Charity No. 1028085

Issue 38, November 2011

Supporting educational initiatives and projects in Nicaragua www.santarosafund.org

a postcard for your friends

With this newsletter you will find the Santa Rosa Fund’s new postcard. Please pass this on to a friend or family member with a recommendation that they become one of our supporters.

We are grateful to Doug Specht, who served as a volunteer teacher at the school in Managua in 2007, for the design and all arrangements for the production of the postcard.
SRF Newsletter 38 November 2011, p.1

El Viejo Youth Centre – a report
One of the projects funded by the Santa Rosa Fund through our partner organisation, the Berriz Sisters, is the work of the Recreation Centre in the town of El Viejo. The centre is named as the ‘Teodoro Kint Recreation Centre’ after a Dutch priest who used to work in the Cosigüina Peninsula of which El Viejo is the municipal town. It is the major youth centre for the town and the municipality and it is a significant feature of the Santa Rosa Fund’s support for education in Nicaragua. William Vargas Díaz is the Director of the Centre and recently sent the following report of its acti ities in and translated for our newsletter. The following is a report of the activities which I carry out as Coordinator of the Teodoro Kint Recreation Centre. Adolescents’ Club This group has been in existence for two years. It’s made up of boys and girls of 12 – 16 years old. They have educational sessions on four themes:  Sexual and Reproductive Health  Gender and Masculinity  Care of the Environment  Non-Violence These are lively and participative sessions. Apart from the educational sessions, there are also sports sessions in the afternoons in which all are involved. This group is also actively involved in youth festivals in which all of the other groups in the Centre are involved too. The club’s activities are assisted by youth volunteers who meet every week to plan the specific theme for the week. The majority of the group are male and for this reason one of our main themes is masculinity, which deconstructs the view that many men have of machismo and relations with friends, girlfriends and family. Monitoring the FAH Volunteers (FAH is the Fundación de Amigos de Holanda – Dutch Friends Foundation, which has a long history of working in the Cosigüina Peninsula and works in particular with our partner organisation, the Berriz Sisters.) This is the activity of organising the FAH volunteers (those in receipt of a grant from the FAH) in various spaces: library work; with Casa Esperanza (an institution which works with people with learning and physical difficulties); at the Recreation Centre itself; and in rural health centres. Monitoring of the work is done monthly to ensure attendance and commitment Youth Volunteers This group is made up of young men and women aged 16 – 21, 75% of whom are in receipt of a FAH grant and are completing their social volunteering. The other 25% take part under their own initiative. Youth volunteers are trained in the same themes as those given above, with the same methodology, but more intensively. SRF Newsletter 38 November 2011, p.2

Then they have to reproduce this information with other adolescents in different places such as:  Secondary schools – where they hold workshops and audio-visual cine-fora on those themes; currently they are working with six schools, one in the rural area, and dealing with more than 200 adolescents.  Mixed sports leagues – these leagues were formed for teams of court-football and volleyball that are made up of both males and females with the idea of breaking the common perception that men are better than women in sport. The volunteers hold special seminars before the games at which these issues are discussed. There are six teams in each league and each team is made up of eight players.  Artistic and cultural events – dance, drawing and guitar groups, like the sports groups, have a seminar before their group activities where similarly positive messages are discussed. There is follow-up to all these activities and half-way through and at the end of the year there is an evaluation exercise. Sports Leagues Organisation From the start, the Youth Centre’s work has included the organisation of sports leagues. We play court-football, volleyball, basketball and table tennis, some more popular than others. The leagues had to be suspended while the roofing of the court was being done, but during that time other works, like painting the new structures and reconstructing the stage for cultural activities, were undertaken. We are hoping that by the end of this year we will get the leagues up and running again, and that next year we will have more leagues as a result of being able to start earlier and play for longer due to the new roof preventing disruption from the sun or the rain. Youth Festivals We hold youth festivals to celebrate specific dates associated with the issues that the groups are working on, such as International Women’s Day, World Environment Day, International Youth Day, Day of Non-Violence Towards Women, and the Day for Combating HIV/AIDS. Two of these five festivals are held in coordination with other organisations, but they all need to be planned and organised.

Links with Other Organisations It is part of our strategic plan that we belong to networks of organisations which deal with the same issues, such as:  REDMAS – the Network of Masculinity for Gender Equality. REDMAS works on issues of gender and masculinity and we take part in gatherings at which local action plans are made, such as campaigns against machismo. We also take part in workshops held for youth promoters and these are mainly held in the capital, Managua.  The Nicaraguan Network for Democracy and Local Development. This network deals with youth issues such as rights, participation, development, education, all within the Nicaraguan legal framework. Again this involves meetings in Managua as well as local actions. SRF Newsletter 38 November 2011, p.3

The Municipal Commission Against HIV/AIDS. This commission works at the local level to promote concrete actions (through workshops, cinema, educational events and the promotion of condom use) to prevent the increase in the number of people with HIV.

It is worth mentioning that my role in all these activities is one of planning, coordination and accompaniment to ensure the smooth running of these programmes. William Vargas Díaz Coordinator, Teodoro Kint Recreation Centre El Viejo, Nicaragua 26 September 2011

Computer use at the Santa Rosa School
Another report we have just received, this one from our partners at the Santa Rosa School in Managua, details the use of the computers that the Santa Rosa Fund helped to provide at the school. The report was prepared by Mayra Calderón, the school secretary and one of the two members of staff to whom the SRF pays a small monthly honorarium ($15) for taking charge of computer use at the school. Translated extracts of her report follow. At primary level, 56 pupils from the 6th grade use the computers. Secondary pupils also use them along with the teachers who use them to prepare their lessons. Electronically we have an encyclopaedia, an English-Spanish dictionary and now we have use of the internet through a modem which we got in the first semester of the year. [The internet is now available through mobile phone networks if you have an appropriate modem to connect to such a network.] Students have computer classes twice a week during both morning and afternoon sessions. The morning sessions are held from 8 am to 10 am. ... Darling Martínez [the second of the two teachers with responsibility for computer use at the school] had to opt out of these duties in August because of her commitments to a university course. Her place has been taken by Carla Calderón. Two new CPUs had to be bought early in the year because of damage caused by the erratic electricity supply, but the Ministry of Education is promising to improve the electricity supply next year. Mayra identified three requirements for the future functioning of the computers: 1. Two new computers are required to improve the access of 6th grade pupils and to extend computer use to pupils of the 5th grade. 2. Air conditioning to maximise the life of the machines. 3. Purchase of a suitable computer battery.

We now teach the use of Mecanet, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and students improve their research through use of the internet ... We believe that there is higher academic achievement as a result of the use of the computers.

SRF Newsletter 38 November 2011, p.4

More news from Nicaragua
Little Cob, Matagalpa
Matagalpa is in the mountainous centre of Nicaragua and is now the home town of Dominique Olney, a French woman who used to live and teach in Plymouth, Devon. Dominique has lived in Matagalpa since 2005 and in 2009 began the Little Cob house on the edge of the town. Little Cob is a supplementary educational facility for Nicaraguan children and adults offering the kind of educational freedom unavailable to virtually all Nicaraguans, either at home or in school. At the time of printing of this newsletter, the trustees of the Santa Rosa Fund are currently considering the disbursement of funds to Nicaragua for 2012. It is important that we meet our already existing annual commitments in full, but if there is anything left in the pot after that, then Little Cob will be quite a strong candidate to receive a small amount of funding (although it is important to stress that the editor of the newsletter is not attempting to influence the trustees’ debate – much). Regardless of the funding issue, we intend to include a more informative article in the next issue of the SRF Newsletter. In the meantime, readers can find out more about Little Cob on its blog site – http://littlecob.wordpress.com/
Dominique and some of her charges at Little Cob

Quincho Barrilete Association – street children organisation
Our regular readers will be aware that in last December’s newsletter (No. 36) we ended an article about the street children of the Eastern Market in Managua with an appeal for any individual donor who might want to help provide the equipment and materials required to turn the appalling hovel of a classroom that the Quincho Barrilete Association (AQB by its Spanish initials) was using to teach some of the market children into an environment more suited to learning. (We had made the appeal because at that time the Santa Rosa Fund had already committed all its funds for the forthcoming year and was unable to help this particular cause.) Well, the same anonymous donor who paid for the electrical installations under the new roofing of the Youth Centre in the town of El Viejo had £1,000 remaining from the estate that she was settling, and this went to the Quincho Barrilete Association specifically for the improvement of the Eastern Market classroom. After some uncertainty about whether the organisation could continue using the classroom or whether it would be better to find an alternative room elsewhere, the AQB put the $1,500 from the SRF supporter to good use and have created a classroom with a much more suitable environment for learning. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos are shown at the top of the next page. The ‘before’ picture doesn’t show the rat-holes in the floor or the holes in the ceiling, but together the two pictures do illustrate the general difference.

SRF Newsletter 38 November 2011, p.5

← BEFORE

AFTER →

SRF website
The Santa Rosa Fund website still has a number of pages to develop, but thanks largely to Brad Waters, we now have a website that looks attractive, is informative and receives a gradually increasing number of visits per month. It has recently received the following accolade from Gill Holmes(*): “I've been perusing the SRF site and am impressed with the professional feel to it and the wealth of information. However, my main reason for visiting it was to find out how to go about officially joining the SRF now I'm back in the UK (I know I'm an unofficial member as I always get the newsletter) and how much it costs for unwaged or low waged people.” The Fund is extremely grateful to Brad for giving his time and work on the website so freely. Brad runs his own website design business but donates the time he spends on our website for free. So in return we are happy to advertise his business for free – you can find details of his company at www.bradwaters.com
* Regular readers of the SRF Newsletter will know that until recently Gill Holmes lived and worked in Managua, the
capital of Nicaragua, and that she has acted on the Fund’s behalf on many occasions in the past and has featured several times in previous newsletters. This year Gill moved back to the UK to live and to work with her daughter Ana Luisa in the Dorchester area. We wish them both well and thank them for all their efforts on our behalf over many years.

Receive our newsletter by email?
The Santa Rosa Fund believes that it is important that we continue to produce our newsletters as hard copies and the trustees are aware that many people prefer a hard copy even if they are a part of the virtual revolution. Nevertheless, there are certain advantages in receiving our newsletters by email instead of by post:  First, you will see it in colour, and a number of those who are now on our email list have remarked how different and attractive it is in colour. SRF Newsletter 38 November 2011, p.6

Second, we can reduce the cost of postage, thereby ensuring that an even larger proportion of the money raised by the Fund gets out to Nicaragua instead of being lost in administration – although our regular readers will be aware that we are proud of the high proportion of our income which gets out to support Nicaraguan education.

If you would like to receive the newsletters by email rather than by post, please let us know by sending a message to our membership secretary Martin Mowforth at mmowforth@plymouth.ac.uk

As well as our newsletter email distribution list, we also now have an e-list of people local to the West Devon area who would like to be informed about SRF-related events in the area by email instead of by hard copy flyer. Again, this saves the Fund money, so if you are a West Devon-based supporter and would like to receive notification of events by email, please let Martin know. Finally on the local supporter front, if you would like to support the Fund by delivering flyers to addresses close by your own address, again please let Martin know – 01822 617504.

More about the internet – but in Managua
Cell phones and internet access grow In July this year it was reported that Nicaragua, the second poorest country in Latin America, had 4.2 million cell phones in use during 2010. The population of Nicaragua is 5.6 million and in 2001 only 164,000 cell phones were in use. Cell phone service is now available in 151 of Nicaragua’s 153 municipalities, including those on the Caribbean coast. The cell phone market is controlled by two companies, the Mexican company Movil operating under the name Claro and the Spanish company MoviStar. Claro has 60% of the cell phone market and all of the internet service. The ease of access, however, is not great as customers of one cell phone company cannot talk to the other and land lines cannot talk to cell phones. Because of this ridiculous situation, many people carry two cell phones, one for each company; and this artificially increases the number in use. Access to broadband internet grew to 400,000 users in 2010, a 300% growth since 2006. During 2011, access to the internet has grown even more thanks to clever little modem which can be attached (by a USB link) to computers and which connects to mobile phone networks, which now offer internet access. So after all the deliberations made over the last few years by the trustees about providing internet access to the Santa Rosa School in Managua, the school does now have internet access for use on the computers that the Fund and the British Embassy provided in 2006.

SRF Newsletter 38 November 2011, p.7

Fund raising events
Ceilidh Night
On Saturday 29th October, the SRF held its first ever Ceilidh event. The sixpiece Champion Band entertained us in the Mary Tavy Coronation Hall, West Devon. About 50 people made the most of the night and after expenses the Fund raised a total of £303 through the entry fee and raffle. We are very grateful to Liz Johnson and Jacky Rushall for organising the event for us, to all those who made cakes for sale on the night and to all who helped on the door and in the kitchen.

Renewal of support
Once again it’s that time of year when we ask our supporters to consider renewing their support to the Santa Rosa Fund by sending us enough to cover the cost of postage of the two newsletters that we send out each year. And of course if you can manage a little more to find its way out to the projects that we support, then so much the better. And many thanks. With this renewal of support in mind, we enclose with this newsletter a subscription renewal form. We are aware that about a third of all our supporters have standing orders in favour of the Fund, and if you are one of them, then please ignore this appeal and recycle the subscription form to your telephone notepad.

The trustees of the Santa Rosa Fund take the opportunity of the extra space at the end of the newsletter to wish all the Fund’s supporters a very happy festive season and a successful new year. We are extremely grateful for all the support you give to the Fund.

SANTA ROSA FUND CONTACTS www.santarosafund.org
Chair: Pete Mayston, Rose Cottage, Tuckermarsh, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HB Tel. 01822 840297 Email: mayston@waitrose.com 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: 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 38 November 2011, p.8