Amigos en Acción

Belen and Keyling practicing their English

Belen and Keyling practicing their English

Many children in El Sauce, Nicaragua face incredible challenges on a daily basis that affect their ability to get an education, which is often the way to break the cycle of poverty. These children often do not have three meals a day, which affects their ability to concentrate in class and to have the focus to complete their homework. Because their families live on about $50-$100 per month, their parents are unable to provide them with their uniforms, backpacks, and schools supplies to go to school, or to even have pencils at home to complete their homework. In addition, the primary caregivers – many single mothers or grandparents – are undereducated or completely illiterate and unable to help the children with their homework. Children do not have access to books or other reading materials, as these are quite expensive by Nicaraguan standards, and are way beyond the means of these families.

Since January 2012, Ashley Sullivan, from Hilton, NY, has been involved with the Ciudad Hermana Rochester-El Sauce program, an organization that has worked in El Sauce since the 1980’s on community development projects. During this time, she has gotten to know and worked with many of these children from extremely low-income families. One of the major programs that she has helped with is Ciudad Hermana’s scholarship program, which currently provides 125 students with scholarships from the 2 local schools and 6 rural schools who come from these disadvantaged families. In the years that Ashley has been involved, she has seen how the scholarship program has helped children to be able to attend school on a regular basis by providing each of the children with a backpack filled with school supplies and a full uniform, including shoes. While this program goes a long way to helping these children, it is not enough.

What We Do

Students performing at a concert after a 6 week music class

Students performing at a concert after a 6 week music class

Ashley and her Nicaraguan counterpart, Martha Rojas, decided they could do more to help these children be successful in school and beyond by starting a new project, called Amigos en Acción (Friends in Action)Amigos en Acción began in April 2016, and is a before-school program for students in grades 4-6 who come from families living in extreme poverty in El Sauce. The students who participate in this program include Ciudad Hermana Scholarship recipients and other children from the community that attend the two local public elementary schools. We work with the local teachers and school directors to identify the students with the most need and also dedication that will benefit most from participating in this program.

Since the students in grades 4-6 attend school in the afternoon, this program functions in the morning, from 8:00 – 11:00. During the program, the children receive educational support to complete their homework and projects, study for exams, and develop skills that will help them to be successful in school. After completing homework, the children receive a healthy snack, and following the snack, they receive English classes. Additionally, volunteers visit the program to interact with the children and offer extracurricular activities. In 2016, two volunteers from New York taught a music class, which concluded with a concert for parents, teachers, and school directors; additionally, a Peace Corps volunteer has taught environmental education classes, and two groups of high school students visited from Hilton, NY and Flagstaff, AZ, the latter teaching art classes using recycled items. Next year, we hope to start a garden to teach the children more about healthy eating and develop their gardening skills.

To run this program, we need $12,000 per year to cover the costs of food, water, electricity, educational supplies, extracurricular program materials, supplies for a garden, to compensate staff for their contributions to the program, and other costs.

How You Can Help

  1. Support us financially to cover costs to run the program – no amount is too small!
  2. Provide us with some elementary level Spanish language reading materials – books, magazines, anything!
  3. Provide us with educational supplies or craft supplies, or donations to purchase them here in Nicaragua
  4. Come visit us and teach us something – English, music, art, jewelry making, yoga, help in our garden…the options are endless!

Remember, you and I are very lucky to have received a good education that has opened doors for us in our personal and professional lives, and by supporting this program, you will help children from El Sauce to have hope for their future, to become stronger students, and to value an education that will open doors for their future.

Please designate Amigos en Accion when making a donation. 100% of your donation goes directly to the program!

For more information, please contact:

Ashley Sullivan

asullivan531@gmail.com

amigosenaccionelsauce@gmail.com

Project Updates