As is the case in other Central American countries, Nicaraguan children attend school in shifts. Children typically attend school in either the morning or afternoon. And some children only go to school on Saturdays. After school programs are nonexistent in Nicaragua and children usually have more than half of the day free. Students are typically required to pay school fees for basic supplies and school uniforms. Most schools are unable to afford sports equipment, musical instruments, and technology. As a result, Nicaraguan schools are only able to offer basic subjects to students. Quetzaltrekkers funds many programs that provide children with safe, adult supervised spaces and fun extracurricular activities during the hours they don’t have school.
Many of our permanent projects are a safe space where our kids can go when they don’t have school. Without affordable, after-school opportunities, many kids end up spending their free time on the street, without programming or adult supervision. For this reason, Quetzaltrekkers has decided to provide scholarships to five kids from each out our permanent projects to attend a class at the Culture House in Leon.
The ‘Casa de Cultura’ in León is a center for promotion and exhibition of art and culture. Visitors can enjoy a permanent selection of murals, paintings, and sculptures from national and international artists. The center also offers classes in Spanish and English, dance, music, art, and martial arts.
Five children from every project are now taking classes in Casa de Cultura. We have kids going to Taekwondo, ballet, guitar and art class. The goal is to enhance our children’s academic achievement and help them to develop new skills and interests.
The majority of our children have chosen to enroll in English classes, with half of the children attending with our scholarship. Thanks to a donation given by PJ and Mary MacGabhann, we decided to fund and organize an English competition for the class.
We designed several small challenges for the English competition, such as a writing test, a short presentation and a speaking test with our volunteers. It was a special morning for the children. They enjoyed the opportunity to share their experiences with our volunteers and connect through a shared language. The winners were rewarded with school supplies, English dictionaries and a Quetzaltrekkers t-shirt.
No kid went home empty handed, as Quetzaltrekkers gave each child an English dictionary at the end of the competition. And because pizza makes everything better, we finished the morning with two big pizza pies.