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Breaking down the Familial Barriers

March 1, 2009

Often, due to poverty, lack of education or lack of time parents or guardians become barriers to continued education. In spite of having their kids’ best interests in mind, families fail to prioritize education for better future. EI recognizes this and helps families in relevant ways.

A typcal home setting in the barrio

A typical home setting in the barrio

Most of the families EI works with have an income of less than $250/month. Lack of adequate funding is a major issue for education of the kids and EI helps these families overcome this barrier by providing books, school supplies, uniforms, and shoes to children to allow them to attend pre-existing schools.

This helps children who have never been able to afford school to attend.

Because of their low income, families often can’t afford medical care.  This prevents children from attending school, as they are out sick more regularly than other children.

EI helps families break down this barrier by working with a local clinic to provide free medical vouchers to the families in the barrio.  Also, since EI is about empowering people, we have a parent from the barrio run this program and decide who should get the vouchers when.

Most of the parents in the communities we work with cannot read.  This makes it difficult for them to help the children with their homework.  Many of the children struggle with school and have repeated the same grade multiple times, despite their consistent attendance and hard work.  This is because they have no one to help them, and the schools are so crowded that the students do not get much personal attention.  The staff at EI recently began a tutoring program to help those students who need help.  Currently, they are working with the students who cannot read, but the hope is to be able to tutor all of those in need of extra assistance.

Older students can’t afford to attend college and are expected to contribute to the family income.  EI provides tuition for these children to attend college as well as a small salary stipend in exchange for interning in our office.  We have had two students work with us through this program, and we expect two more soon.

In an effort to find better jobs, some of the parents from the barrios work in Managua (the capital city of Nicaragua) or Costa Rica.  This means the children are left with other family members.  Also, many of the children live in single-parent households with several siblings.  Most of the time the single parent has to work to bring in an income for the family, which means the children are often left to care for each other and fed for themselves. Through the home visit program, EI works to ensure these students and all children in the program receive the encouragement and support they need to succeed.

Many of the kids do not have role models because many times nobody in their family has graduated from high school.  Because of this, many children do not realize how their life could be different with a good education.  EI works to help students graduate from high school, and then asks them to return to the community to conduct home visits and

EI student with his camera!

EI student with his camera!

mentor the younger students.  This is also true in other EI programs.

EI also offers a photography class, and for much of this class, the older students are responsible for teaching the younger students. It is EI’s aim to ensure that parents participate in their children’s education regularly so that ultimately the whole family is empowered to work towards a better tomorrow.

Neha Singh

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In Nicaragua 50% of the kids that start 1st grade never finish  5th grade. It is our goal to make this percentage drop significantly.

$30/month is what it takes us at Empowerment International to put a child in school. If you would like to help a child stay in school and get better life, please click on the link below or contact us

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