Written by Alex, La Mariposa Intern
In June of this year, a wonderful new project opportunity presented itself to us at La Mariposa. It all started with a request for funding from a local primary school, Rubén Darío, for a fiesta for the “Day of the Child”. Three guests at the time, students from Colorado, took on the responsibility of funding and organizing the party and it was a great success! Shortly thereafter we recognized the potential to replicate the project we have at Panama Primary School at Rubén Darío Primary School. At Panama School, we built a small library where we pay the salary of a teacher, Fernando, to work in the mornings with small groups of students. This greatly benefits students who might otherwise not get the help they need in the larger classes. The project also provides an opportunity for kids to read storybooks and develop a love for reading. This is something many of us from the West certainly take for granted – having storybooks in the home for reading pleasure.
Rubén Darío School is located a short micro bus ride from La Mariposa and services more than 200 students from La Concepción’s barrios of Los Encuentros and Los Mercados. At the school there was already a small half built building that we could use as the library. The building was started by World Vision, but was never completed. We approached World Vision to see if we could finish it using materials that had been left behind. Over the next few months, we had two volunteers working alongside Mariposa workers to finish the construction. We also received a number of generous donations towards the cost of additional construction materials needed to finish the library. In October, the building was painted and supplied with furniture, school materials and books. Many of these supplies were made possible by donations from past and present Mariposa guests. World Vision also donated books, the door to the building and bookcases. Since the beginning of last week, our teacher Fernando has been splitting his time between mornings at Panama and afternoons at Rubén Darío. We also placed our first volunteer alongside Fernando to help organize the library and work with the kids. At the school there is even an additional classroom available in the afternoon that is being used as a Rincon de Leer (or Reading Corner), so that younger kids from the morning classes can come in the afternoons to enjoy the books from the library.
With summer vacation in Nicaragua looming just around the corner, we are keeping our primary school projects – Panama and Rubén Darío – up and running over vacation time! Both projects will operate during the months of December and January, and Fernando will continue to share his time between both schools so kids can enjoy reading over the holidays. When school starts back again in February, we are hoping to have the resources to fund another teacher so that both libraries can operate full-time!
We would like to thank all the people that have made our library project at Rubén Darío possible – you know who you are! This also includes the students from Colorado who are currently fundraising back home for this project!
Of course, the library (and the school itself) could always use more donations:
- School supplies – everything from markers to notebooks to pencil sharpeners to scissors
- Books – children’s books in Spanish up to 6th grade (sets of 6 are good), but individual copies are useful too. Books are often less expensive when purchased in the United States, but they lack local context, so we try to have a balance between the two.
- Sporting goods and educational toys – balls, jump ropes, puzzles, etc…
See our “How You Can Help…” page on our website for more details on making donations!