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Helping a Community Help itself – The Santa Ana de Malacos Project

September 12, 2009

In October of 2007, a new community approached Empowerment International to ask for its help.  Called,  Santa Ana de Malacos, this community is a very impoverished, small and rural farming community outside of Granada in Nicaragua.

Santa Ana Community Project

The Need –

Although, Santa Ana lies only 10 Km from EI’s office, it is a world apart.  The standard of living is markedly lower in this community.  Most of the children  here do not have shoes, despite needing to cross over farm lands and giant puddles to reach school and work in the fields.

Most of the parents are illiterate and without a method of transportation.  They work as subsistence farmers, using horses to cultivate the fields, or in other manual-labor positions.  The community is serviced only by a 4WD dirt road, with no public transportation, and is frequently impassable in the rainy season. There are approximately 80 primary-school-aged children living in the Santa Ana Community. The community has a government-provided small primary school and two teachers, but does not have the financial or mentoring resources necessary to keep children in school.
The senior elementary school teacher there approached EI when he noticed a decrease in the numbers of students attending school as well as declining performance from those who did attend.  Upon visiting the community, the staff immediately recognized a great need.

The Solution –
In accordance with the generous 2008 Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation grant, EI identified, hired,  trained local Nicaraguan staff and arranged transportation to the village. Now our novel hands-on approach of daily home visits, training for the parents, and emphasis on long-term value of education is being implemented successfully.
We had two measurable goals for 2009, of which the first one has been met, as all the primary school-aged children in the community are now in school. We intend in the next year to continue to work with these children (and any children that are new to the community or ready to start school).

Can you Help us?

We have also identified a number of children whose families were able to support them so they could graduate from the local primary school and are now eligible to attend the more-distant high school, but are unable to manage transportation. Further, the closest high school is closing and the only one available will be almost 16 km away.

Being able to attend secondary school is a rare event in this community and we believe enabling these children to continue their education would be extremely beneficial to them and to the community.

Ultimately EI aims to foster a strong community value for education so that the community becomes self-sufficient and breaks its cycle of poverty.

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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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