Things aren’t always as they seem. Take education. The Nicaraguan government offers free education to all its citizens. Yet UNICEF estimates that only 55% of students complete primary school and move on to secondary school. The education
and data source FHI 360 (www.epdc.org ) reports that 39% of secondary school age females and 47% of males do not actually attend school. Why?
The reasons are complicated and variable. The Ministry of Education requires all students to wear uniforms. This is an expense most parents cannot bear. Students must walk or ride their bicycles to the nearest school, as transportation is not provided. Many of the roads are unpaved resulting in very muddy conditions in the rainy season and very dusty conditions in the dry season. Add the danger of children walking alone and one can understand why parents are not eager to send their children to school. Often, too, older children are needed in the home to care for younger siblings or assist in the fields.
Even for those children able to attend public school regularly, difficulties remain. Desks and textbooks are in limited number and in poor condition. Teacher to students ratios are abysmal; sixty students to one teacher is not uncommon. Teachers in Nicaragua are among the poorest paid in Central America, earning $150-$250 monthly.
With a deep reliance on God, Project Chacocente is providing hope for those in rural Masaya. Chacocente Christian School is committed to providing opportunities to the children of the area. We believe every child has a right to an education, and that education will make better citizens who can help lead their country out of poverty.
One thing that has become apparent is that fluency in English helps Nicaraguans obtain fair employment. Recently, Nelson, a member of the Project, said that his dream is for his son, Jonathan, to have a “clean job”. By this he means a job that does not involve scavenging through trash or working on unsafe construction projects. Nelson wants what we all want for our children – dignity and safety. Both Jonathan and Nelson are making the most of an opportunity given them at Project Chacocente. They are passionate about learning English and are enrolled in a 14-level English program at the University of Central America in Managua. They are both doing very well, advancing to higher levels at regular intervals. Jonathan says, “I want to speak English better than Omar!” With God’s help and your support, may it be so.
Tuition and transportation cost $55 per month per student. To sponsor a member of Project Chacocente taking English at UCA, please email firstname.lastname@example.org