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EI’s Secondary School Program – Paving new paths for disillusioned teenagers

May 8, 2010

Only 50% of Nicaragua’s population will finish primary school. With nearly 47% living below the Secondary Educationpoverty line, poverty will force many into subsistence labour before they reach their teens. Negative peer pressure, drugs, and abuse will cause countless others to drop out.

Even for those who remain in school, their education remains characterized by unqualified teachers, overcrowded and under supplied classrooms, and indifference.

In 2009, EI began a unique Secondary School Program, sending 19 students to a local school that offers a better learning environment.

What you have read so far is just facts and figures…. These young people have succeeded beyond every obstacle, tackling not only their own self doubt, but prejudice, poverty, drugs and violence.

Secondar School - ElvisElvis, Melki, and Anielka quietly remember their old schools as filled with unqualified teachers, close friends, confusion, and bad behavior.

For Elvis, it must have seemed like an endless cycle. Poor teaching left him struggling to graduate, and with no school support, he seemed destined to be one of the many who discouraged and disillusioned, drop out.

For Melki and Anielka, both excellent students, school should have been a ticket out of poverty; instead it offered no challenges and no support. Top of their class, they were wasting their potential under uninspired teachers.

All this has changed.

Since EI has provided for them and their peers to attend a school with better educational standard, they are given new hope for a better life through a sound education. Now, they speak enthusiastically of knowledgeable teachers who care. Classrooms are filled with books, well behaved students, and positivity. Success means hard work, everyday they come to the centre to study. After all, their success is EI’s greatest reward.

Elvis, who once struggled, proudly showed his report card: 83%. Melki is at the top of his class, regularly scoring well into the high 90s. Both boys love math. For Elvis, conscious teaching and good classroom management has given him the opportunity to grasp what previously confused him. For Melki, it’s a chance to enjoy being challenged every day. With his 92%, he insists ‘it’s all logical and easy!’ Aniekla is busy preparing for this year’s end of years exam. Given orally in front of the entire class, she’s nervous but confident. After all, she’s never received a fail before and is an excellent student!

All of the students involved in the project have high hopes for the future. The strong education Secondary Education- Melkithey are receiving will undoubtedly help them find well paying and prestigious jobs. One day, their life of poverty may, with hard work and drive, be behind them. Aviation mechanic, pediatrician, university, system engineer, vocational training, these are the new dreams for the future. Continuing at these private schools will open these doors, providing them with the tools to succeed.

Of course, under EI’s innovative tutoring program, these students aren’t just helping themselves. Every day, they come to the EI center and help others achieve, they tutor primary school kids who need help with math and Spanish. A wonderful cycle of knowledge and accomplishment is born!

This program has offered more than academic success. Popular and bright, they have all loved making new friends. Melki has grown from a timid child who was too scared to talk in class to a confident, talkative young man who excels on the school football team and earns the respect of his peers. Anielka has seen new horizons open up, and speaks happily of new friends, experiences, hopes. For her parents, who have watched her older brothers’ struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, helping her succeed has filled them with pride and hope. This, in turn, inspires her to do everything in her power to make them ever more proud.

Elvis, a talented photographer of our photography program whose photos have sold internationally, reminds us that ‘everyone learns from each other.’ This program has reached beyond these students, it has proven to all of us that with the right support, love, dedication and drive, we can all succeed, no matter what obstacles life places in our way.

Verity Danbold

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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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One Comment leave one →
  1. Angeline Ringens permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:49 am


    I’ll stay from 01-11 till 01-12 in Nicaragua, and i’m interested to visit one of your volunteering projects. I live in the Netherlands and started there with my colleagues a day care for adolescents with psychiatric problems who can’t stay in their parents home anymore. I coordinate their treatment and their social problems and join in networking with other organisations. Allthough i like my work, i keep thinking of working as a volunteer abroad for maybe one year.

    Is it possible to visit one of your projects and do you have possibilities for workers with my skills for your organisation? How about the costs of living?

    With kind regards,

    Angeline Ringens

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