Our Sister School In Nicaragua
In October 2005 the Muskoka Montessori School held a special assembly in which Marta Bonelli and Keith Uhrig – individuals we know very well through the Buddhist community in Huntsville – came to speak about their experiences in community building in a small village in Nicaragua. As a way of supporting and promoting their work, the Muskoka Montessori School agreed to become a “sister school” with a small school in the community of Corozal.
Our sister school has approximately 90 students and is located in a very rural and economically challenged area. The great majority of families involved with the school are subsistence farmers. In 1996 much of the village was wiped out by a mudslide, and the school and many of the homes were relocated. Soon after relocation, the water system failed, depriving the students of drinking water as well as the ability to wash after using the latrines. There had been no funds available to rectify this problem.
Recognizing the great difficulties faced by this community, we decided to begin a fundraising program for our friends in Corozal. Each year since then, we have hosted an art sale and barbeque in the spring and a bake sale in the fall, and this is what our funds have accomplished:
- purchased the necessary pipes and equipment to hook up our sister school (and about 20 families) to a clean water supply
- repaired the latrines behind the school. Now they have toilets with doors!
- made a washing area for the staff and students
- bought the materials necessary to repair all of the students’ desks at school
- provided school supplies and uniform shirts to every student
- bought the materials necessary to build a rat-proof bookcase for the school’s books
- fixed the school’s playground equipment.
- built a new library adjacent to the school
- provided uniforms and supplies for all students so that every child in the village of Corozal could attend school
- helped to bring electricity to the community
- built a 110-metre cement walkway from the school to the schoolyard where the children play and do their phys-ed classes. Due to the heavy and long rainy season, this path is usually a mess of mud and water, making it impassable. With the new walkway, the children will always be able to play outside!
- supplied students with school materials and uniforms
- supplied teachers with classroom resources
- paid tuition for six high school students to make further education possible
- purchased instruments for school band
- provided several interest-free micro-credit loans
- provided several high school scholarships
- contributed to the water project in Leon, one of the poorest regions of Northern Nicaragua