Our 2019 SOL groups worked alongside of community members on Corn Island to repair and upgrade the Saint Santiago Elementary School, one of the oldest schools of the island, with 57 years serving the neighborhood of South End. The school has good reputation for its quality education; for years students of the school have excelled in national competitions, ranking in the first three positions. Two mayors and important private and public sector officers of Corn Island have studied in the school. Although there is a public school in South End, its location is not very convenient for little children. That school is located far from the center of the community in a steep hill. This is physically challenging for students, especially the youngest ones. For decades, the Saint Santiago School has been the preferred choice for families with preschool through third-grade children.
By the end of November, we are trying to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the St. Santiago School Kitchen. You can see how far we already are in the thermometer. Please consider helping us by donating here.
However, the school infrastructure was facing a progressive deterioration due to lack of sufficient resources. Families contribute with some money, but this is not enough to keep the premises in good condition. This deterioration has affected children motivation and learning. The last year, the school started with 80 students and ended with 50 and this year enrollment has dropped even more. We expect this project will help to rehabilitate and enhance the school capacity and quality to the traditional levels and even upper. Another intended impact is also to ensure initial education is provided to most children of the neighborhood. With rehabilitated and improved premises we expect to at least recover the 2018 initial enrollment (80 students) in the 2020 school year. Besides, the community will recover their pride for one of its oldest educational institutions.
Although the school was established and is part of the mission of the Episcopal Church, it provides a public service. As such, the school receives support from the Ministry of Education of Nicaragua, which provides the salaries for two of the four teachers and food for the children. Due to lack of resources, the school infrastructure was in poor condition. The three buildings of the school (classrooms, library and bathrooms) needed cleaning and a fresh coat of paint. During the rainy season, the backyard was usually flooded making difficult the circulation of children between the three buildings. Therefore, a sidewalk to connect the three buildings was required. As food is cooked inside one of the classrooms, making it risky and uncomfortable for children, the construction of a kitchen is also required. The roof was also leaking and needed replacement. Doors and windows also needed repair and replacement in some cases. The group members worked with community members cleaning and painting the school walls; they also dug trenches and mix concrete. More photos of the school condition may be seen here.