ADVANCE Nicaragua hopes to send a small team to Nicaragua in the fall to train teachers under the leadership of sophomore Lauren Miller. This John Brown University Enactus group previously built a school for the children in Chinandega, Nicaragua.
Having helped with ADVANCE Nicaragua her freshman year, Miller plans on further developing the school by aiding the teachers, whether through giving them supplies, furniture or teaching tips.
The team she plans to take will commit about five days to working with teachers, parents, and children.
“Specifically, we would like to work with the teachers for a couple days and also do some activities for the kids,” Miller said. “Maybe two days with the teachers, and another day with the kids and/or parents.”
In September 2012, the team completed a year-long project of building a school for the children. Previously, the children did not have a location to gather for learning.
“The first teacher at the school did not have a place to teach. She used to stop by every house to pick up the kids. Then she taught at one of the kid’s house,” said Concepcion Bustello, a resident of Chinandega, in an online video.
The building provides the community with the means of a better education and opportunities for their children. Now, the goal is to ensure that the teachers have the proper resources.
“One of the needs Lauren Miller is working on with her team now is to provide training to the teachers, which I thought could be a good next step to ensure a quality education,” said University graduate Ana–Paulina Villanueva, the previous ADVANCE Nicaragua leader and founder of the project.
One of the ways ADVANCE Nicaragua is doing this is by partnering with University education professor Margo Turner.
Miller said that when she visited the country, she did not see anything that compared to what Americans know as the middle class. In Nicaragua, 90 percent of the citizens live in poverty, making it the second poorest country in Latin America, she added.
“The people of my neighborhood live in poor conditions; there is a lot of unemployment and a great lack of education as well as infrastructure,” said Villanueva, who is a native of Nicaragua. “I had spent most of my life seeing kids who don’t attend school and live in poor conditions and I was sensitive to that and wanted to do something.”
In order to raise funds for this project, Miller thought about holding a 5K race in the city of Siloam Springs or even an art exposition where people could buy some of the kid’s artwork. All funds donated will be given to ADVANCE Nicaragua in order to provide the community with quality education.