Thursday, May 14, 2015

Casa de los suenos, a great charity

One of our major tenants of this trip was for our kids to be exposed to how other people live around the world and learn the art of helping. In each of the countries we have visited we have donated to needy people or to non profits that help make the world a better place. We happened across Education Plus as part of our search for giving.
   From the moment we entered the school we had such a good vibe. The school has about 200 students from the Barrio Pantanal. The barrio is a squatters' camp that grew to about 15,000 people in the last 20 years. Originally it was set up as a safe haven during the civil war. Today people call this place home, but this home doesn't have government services like clean water, sewage or paved streets. In fact, we could not even find it on the map. That is where Education Plus Nicaragua comes in, they purposely located their school in this barrio a couple years ago. The school provides much needed food and vitamins for the little ones. Also, according to Jim Durham, the Development Director, the school has become a hub for positive role modeling and self esteem building for the children who so desperately need positives in their lives.
   Sierra and Zoe were initially apprehensive as all kids are around new faces but soon got into the groove. Sierra got in a position of handing out vitamins at the lunch line and Zoe helped with singing during the preschool class. The Nicaraguan kids are also taught English as it is thought they will have a leg up getting a higher paying job later in life. Jim reminded us that the school is a supplement to the children's regular schooling but since they provide meals for all the kids is a very important spot for them. Jim explained that for many of the kids their major meal of the day was at this school. La Casa de los suenos is trying to expand the school grounds and add a library, playing field and admin building. They can use any donation possible, including donating services like dentistry, medical, teaching, etc. If you want to donate either time or money they would love it. Please consider helping them out, we verified the operations and know it will go to good use. The hyper link above will take you to their website and explain everything. We donated time and money and loved it. Hopefully, you will too.                      

Getting the food ready for the older kids as lunchtime approaches.

Standing outside the campus getting ready to walk into the barrio to meet the neighbors.

Jim is like the unofficial mayor of Pantanal barrio, everybody loves him.

Elise was overcome with emotion after she realized that everybody was so happy even though they lived under plastic tarps. The people all came out to see us as we meandered through the barrio. The place was alive with happiness and laughter as kids did what they do best, play.

This is the house the girls, from just above, live in and they still found a way to be filled with joy.

Seeing these homes and the happy people in them was a great teaching moment for our kids

The kids eagerly wait outside the campus, sometimes for hours, just to be sure to be on time.

Sierra working with Mr. Jim to hand out bananas and vitamins to the under 4 year old crowd. These kiddos get an additional snack well before lunch time for their growing needs.

Preschool being lead by an all European staff. Two Dutch ladies and a Swiss lady met here while donating their time to this charity. Jim explained that building self esteem is a two way street and many of the volunteers leave better off then when they came.

Learning shapes for the age 2 to 4 crowd is challenging let alone in Spanish and English.

Bi-lingual teaching of colors and animals was my favorite part. Our concept of what animals sound like are different depending on where you are raised.

Elise reading to the preschoolers

There are kids outside the classroom window just waiting for their turn to come to school. The children really appreciate this opportunity to be nourished and don't waste their chance.

These are the lucky Nicaraguan kids. There are so many others that need a helping hand too.