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Volunteering

With the Santa Rosa Fund

Background

In 2006, through a small UK-based registered charity called the Santa Rosa Fund, the British Embassy provided five computers and two printers to the Santa Rosa School in Managua. The staff are nearly all untrained in computer use, and so the Santa Rosa Fund (SRF) is providing money for some of the staff to attend training courses in Managua. In the summer of 2007 for the first time, the SRF also enlisted the help of three student volunteers to carry out one-to-one training with selected members of staff. The exercise was a great success for all concerned but lasted for only four weeks. Everyone concerned agreed that if it was to be repeated then it should be done for two months rather than one.

The SRF is a registered charity which is dependent on the donations made each year by its supporters in the UK. It will not therefore pay for the volunteers’ living expenses or flights. They would be volunteers in every sense of the word. The Fund can, however, arrange cheap accommodation and will cover any costs directly incurred in the computer training. Volunteers would also be guided around and familiarised with Managua by one of the Fund’s trustees or representatives. There will also be plentiful opportunities to visit and see other parts, projects and problems of the country.

In general there are five things required of volunteers:

  1. Two months of your time (July and August).
  2. Sufficient funds for your return trip to Nicaragua and living expenses for two months of work and travel there. (N.B. You may want to use the work as a jumping-off point for more travel around Central America or Latin America.)
  3. An interest in development work in Third World countries.
  4. A basic computing competence. This will not present a problem for anyone who has successfully completed three years of university education.
  5. A basic competence in the Spanish language. This does not rule out those who currently have no Spanish. One of the 2007 student volunteers, who was in a gap year, went out to the region in March (three months early) to follow a ten week intensive Spanish language course (with homestay) in El Salvador, after which his Spanish was good. Another followed a three week intensive course (with homestay) elsewhere in Nicaragua before joining the group in Managua. As a result, his level of Spanish was acceptable. Neither of these two spoke a word of Spanish before following their courses. The crucial thing here is a willingness to follow an intensive course beforehand and a determination to learn rapidly. (It should be noted, however, that if you have no Spanish and no wish or intention to follow such a taught course, this volunteer opportunity is not for you.)

For those who have not already noticed, this would certainly be an opportunity to gain some relevant and appropriate experience for your CV, particularly for those who may be interested in working in the field of development.

For more details, please contact Martin Mowforth, a trustee of the Santa Rosa Fund:

email: mmowforth@plymouth.ac.uk

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