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Villa España Pre-School and Primary School

Sunday, 25 September, 2005

In 1998 Hurricane Mitch hit Nicaragua with devastating effect. Around the town of El Viejo 4,000 people were made homeless. About 1,000 of these were re-housed in a new settlement, now called Villa España, which was built by the Spanish Red Cross. Families moved into their new houses in 2003, over four years after Hurricane Mitch, having spent the intervening years in a temporary tented settlement.

Many of the families there are headed by single women who, as the only breadwinners, need to go out to work. A pre-school where they could leave their infants in safety was therefore essential, and a Spanish order of nuns who work in El Viejo provided the funds for the building of a one classroom pre-school. The Nicaraguan government, however, did not support pre-school education and would not or could not pay the two teachers needed to run morning and afternoon classes. In 2000, the nuns therefore approached the Santa Rosa Fund to pay the annual salary of Veronica Ríos, one of the teachers, and since that time the Fund has also made an annual allowance to the pre-school for the purchase of materials.

In 2005, Veronica Ríos became pregnant and decided to return home to the village of Cosigüina to have her baby – she had previously ‘commuted’ to Villa España from Cosigüina at the beginning and end of each week. Her post of the morning pre-school teacher was taken over by Grethel del Carmen Campos Cabrera, who lived just round the corner from the pre-school as a resident of Villa España. Grethel .was then in the final year of her training as a teacher, and in 2007 she moved on to teach elsewhere in the country. Her post was then taken by Veronica Treminio from the village of Los Pozitos, and the Santa Rosa fund continues to pay her salary via the nuns.

Apart from the pre-school, there is also a primary school in Villa España, but for secondary or tertiary education the youths of Villa España have to travel to one of the nearby cities. When they return home, they have no means of pursuing their studies and no resources with which to do so. In 2005 the nuns sought the Santa Rosa Fund’s assistance with a project to equip and supply a small library based in the Rosario Mayorga Primary School in Villa España. The library is partitioned from one of the classrooms in the school and is intended not just as a resource for the school but also for the community. Patricia Jarquín, a resident of Villa España, is paid a small salary by the nuns to organise, classify and care for the library and its resources. The Santa Rosa Fund made an initial payment (delivered in June 2005) for the purchase of books and other materials to equip the library and have continued to support the library since then. The library is resourced especially with materials appropriate for secondary and tertiary education levels.

The nuns view the library as essential because many of the teenagers in Villa España, where employment opportunities are almost non-existent, have begun to shun education after primary school and, worse, have begun to seek stimulus through drugs and gang membership. Only by providing alternatives to these anti-social options can they hope to create a more harmonious community. So the Santa Rosa Fund will continue with its funding of these positive programmes in Villa España as long as it is able to do so.

Category: Villa España

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