Wisconsin Nicaragua Partnership
NTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY, observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 774 million of the world's adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and roughly 123 million children lack those same skills, and are often denied any access to education. So what to do? Ask Rachel Ley as she takes the Literacy for Little Ones to Nicaragua! This Stevens Point High School student implemented the Literacy for Little Ones reading program at five hospitals in Wisconsin and Minnesota as a way to encourage parents to read to their newborns. "Every baby born at the hospital receives the book package, which includes a children’s book and a letter that I wrote explaining why it's so important to start reading at a young age" says Ley. Velez Paiz Hospital in Managua, Nicaragua is the next location to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity (media.mwcradio).
“Through Literacy for Little Ones, I have learned that no matter what my age, the best way I can make a positive difference in my community is by volunteering. I have been truly inspired by the number of youth, teens, and adults throughout North Central Wisconsin who have generously given their time or made donations to allow this project to grow and expand. It has made me realize that volunteerism is realizing how fortunate I am and trying to give back what others have done for me.” Rachel Ley (River News Online)
Gracias a Dios, located at Cedro Galan community, has been a growing Learning Center since 2000 when Josefa Sanchez (Chepita) joined the Learning Center network to create more opportunities for the people in her community. About 15 minutes from Managua, you can ask for Chepita and everyone in the community will point to where her house is located, why everybody knows Chepita is not because in the Cedro Galan community everyone knows each other, it is because she carries out many projects at her house. Josefa learned how to make dresses and embroider in the second center that the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas opened. After a few years of working on her skills she started working in the Chica Nica program and eventually asked if she could start a center in her community and Centro Gracias a Dios has been open for 8 years. All told Josefa has been a volunteer for over 20 years. And although, Josefa stopped teaching for a year following the death of her husband, she was encouraged by her friends and the community to begin teaching again. Josefa is dedicated to her community and in the center based out of her home she teaches classes two to three days a week, hosts another teacher one day, and has a library that her daughter, Guadalupe Lopez runs, that loans out about 25 books two days a week. In addition to the lending library, handcraft & sewing courses, piñata, jewelry, black ceramics, health assistance, opening doors project and agriculture project taking place out of her house, she hosts many visitors and W/NP volunteers willing to carry out projects in the well-being of her community. Gracias a Dios Learning Center has held two Farmer to Farmer workshops this past year. February was the first one and the focus was how to build and use the vegetable and fruit dehydration technique. With Chepita’s help, the idea is to spread this program to different LC’s. Chepita will assist Brazos de Amor Learning Center with the Dehydration project and will work with El Transito LC to develop this project as a market for tourist.
More images can be found here.
From Wisconsin to Nicaragua – the beacon shines on! The Clintonville Airport beacon that faithfully shined every day from 1948 to 2010 has been given a second life and is now shining brightly at the new peer of Salvador Allende on the shores of Lake Managua, Nicaragua. W/NP volunteers are always on the look-out for resources that can be shared with our counterparts in Nicaragua to support a variety of projects with objectives to improve quality of life, vocational options, income, self-sufficiency and empowerment for people living throughout Nicaragua. When Mike McCord, Past President of W/NP learned that the Clintonville Airport beacon was going to be replaced, he asked the City Council to consider donating the beacon to W/NP who would in return find a good home for the beacon. W/NP volunteers Bob and Janet Groh, the U.S. Funded Transportation Program and many others pitched in to make the beacon transfer a reality. Initially it was hoped the warning light could be used at the Puerto Cabezas Airport, but logistical challenges moved the beacon in a new direction. Jaime Delgado, W/NP volunteer in Nicaragua made arrangements to have the beacon transported and installed at the newly renovated peer off Lake Managua. Mirna Angulo, W/NP staff member in Nicaragua commented, “…. and the beacon looks perfect there, gorgeous at night. I’m so glad the beacon found the perfect home for a happy ending!!!”
Today was the transport of a rather large (seemingly impossible to move...) item for the W/NP Managua Office. Special thanks to some strong (patient) and dedicated volunteers that took on the task - so much appreciated!! This beautiful display case will be fully utilized; it's a perfect case with shelves to highlight current projects taking place in Nicaragua while also providing a safe & elegant area for display/sale of items made by W/NP Learning Center students.
Busy day at W/NP - in between moving cabinets and bookshelves, Dave Diamond loaded up 20 sets of complete turnout gear from the Rothschild Fire Department for Firefighters United in Nicaragua!
Once again, a ton of work that is totally worth it for the programs in Nicaragua. We were thrilled to learn of the generous donation from Chuck & Janel Iberg upon the closing of Bookfinders bookstore in Stevens Point. The shelving will provide a wonderful home and display for the books at the lending libraries in Nicaragua! And very, very special thanks to Milo & Ruth, Bob and Larry for laborious task of hauling this all to the W/NP warehouse to await shipment to Nicaragua (just happens to be on probably the only HOT day we'll have this year!) They are certainly true humanitarians, time and time again like many W/NP volunteers, there is no hesitation to put aside their own plans when given the opportunity to respond to the needs of others.
"Nothing worth it ever comes easy" and that concept is more than evident here. Our immense gratitude goes out to Mr Ron Fish, owner, and Steve McCabe for gathering a group of volunteers to help dismantle and transport the Marshfield McDonalds items that can be used for projects and facilities in Nicaragua.
McDonalds donates furniture for Nicaragua prior to pending demolition as a gesture of humanitarian support. W/NP volunteers remove fixtures for shipment to Nicaragua the following morning after the restaurant closed. The Division Street McDonald’s in Stevens Point was demolished May 16th, 2012 to make way for a new facility adjacent to the present site. Years ago Burger King made a similar donation upon closure and the seats are currently being used in W/NP Learning Centers, Lending Libraries and homes of people who are most appreciative of Wisconsin’s compassionate effort to help others in need. Today, June 24th we are posting photos of where the donated items are currently being used in Nicaragua - thanks again to all who helped make this possible.