El Progreso school is located in the rural, mountainous community of Despala Quemada #2 in the municipality of Matagalpa. The majority of the 300 community members work as farmers, growing coffee, flowers, and vegetables.
The community is well organized, and the people are very interested in improving the conditions within their community. They previously worked together to build an elementary school in 2009. In 2015, Seeds of Learning worked with members of the community and international volunteers to expand the school by building an additional classroom, kitchen, and covered patio with a small library room.
Since the completion of the work two years ago, and, upon seeing the positive impact it had for the students, teachers, and community at large, Seeds of Learning has been asked to continue developing educational infrastructure with the community. There is currently no space for community activities, and very little educational resources for students and adults. Community members have requested a space that can be used for activities such as adult education classes and vocational trainings, as well as to hold books and other educational materials.
In 2017, SOL will work with the El Progreso community and international volunteers to build a small, one room Learning Resource Center. The Center will be located on the grounds of the local elementary school, El Progreso. The center will house books and other educational resources, and will host vocational classes and other community activities. A local government-sponsored training program, INATEC, has already donated six sewing machines to begin a sewing project. The community will run the programs in the center. In addition, local farmers (who grow a variety of crops, from beets, cabbage, celery, ayote (squash), carrots, potatoes, malanga, beans, and corn) are hoping to attend and hold more workshops in agriculture related topics and nutrition in the new area.
Seeds of Learning is excited to continue collaborating on a second phase of growth and improvement in this highly motivated and organized community!
January, 2018 Update: Thanks to the generous support of several individual donors, construction of the center was completed in late 2017. Although working conditions were challenging in this rural region, members of the SOL construction team and the community worked hard to ensure project completion. We are particularly proud of the windows that were built by encrusting recycled glass bottles into the walls. In addition to creating a magical glowing stained-glass effect, this design was cheaper than traditional windows and helped promote the importance of recycling.
We celebrated the inauguration of the center on November 18th with a community party that featured members of the SOL–Ciudad Darío youth dance troop, the Grupo SOL musicians, and more. The multi-purpose space is a unique resource in the region. The community has already successfully requested vocational training classes from INTAE, a free governmental training and trade skills program. Other government entities are also interested in supporting additional improvement projects within the community. We look forward to a busy and successful year at the El Progreso learning center in 2018!
View photos of the finished LRC and the inauguration ceremony by clicking here. We are thankful to all of the donors and volunteers who made this project possible.