REACH – Dulce Nombre, Nicaragua
Dulce Nombre is a small community of only 26 houses located in the department of Jinotega. This community is about 105 km from the capital, Managua, and has approximately 200 residents. Fidel Blandon and his wife Gabriela Meza founded Dulce Nombre before the Nicaraguan revolution. The current elected community leader is Danilo Blandon Lagos. Most residents of Dulce Nombre are farmers who grow some combination of coffee, bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions, corn and beans. The climate is tropical, with a warm dry season and a cooler rainy season each year. There is no electricity or running water in Dulce Nombre, and the closest medical clinic is 3 km away in a small town called La Rica.
22 children were enrolled in preschool and 38 children in primary school in Dulce Nombre. These students attended classes in a one room wooden building that was originally constructed to process coffee during the harvest. They studied with one preschool teacher from Dulce Nombre and two primary school teachers who traveled to Dulce Nombre each day to teach grades 1 through 4.
The new school block has two classrooms and two latrines, a poured concrete floor, cinderblock walls with windows and a corrugated tin roof.
The Dulce Nombre project began in June with the help of high school students from our partner after-school program in the US. These students were chosen from high schools in PA & NY and earned the opportunity to participate after doing extensive local community service. They participated in a covenant signing ceremony with the entire community before breaking ground on each new school. This covenant outlines the plan for the project and the following duties:
- Unskilled labor: 12 workers (6 women and 6 men) per day, six days per week
- Commitment to educating girls and boys equally
- The land on which the school is built
- High quality local materials: sand, gravel, water & rocks
- Volunteer management committee made up of 12 villagers (six women, six men)
- Lodging for buildOn Field Coordinator and skilled laborers in local homes
- Basic construction tools (picks, wheelbarrows, buckets, etc.) when available
- Engineering and architecture
- Construction materials (excluding local materials) for school and latrine
- Skilled labor and plans needed to build the school
- Project management
- Instruction in basic construction techniques
Total number of students: 60
Percentage girls: 47%
Number of grade levels: 5