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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Escuela Heroes y Martires de Xiloa

FUNDECI/GAIA works in several locations in Nicaragua, although our most intense activity is in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. We have conducted research on the fishes of Laguna de Xiloa, in Peninsula Chiltepe Nature Reserve, just northwest of Managua, for several years. While discovering new fish species, we also recognized great human needs among the rural communities in the area of the reserve. A rapidly growing community on the edge of Lake Xiloa developed after Hurrican Mitch, its children without basic services like a school. We worked together with the local community and the Municipality of Mateare to identify and prioritize needs in the area, and the consensus was that basic education was the greatest unmet need. We applied for and obtained funding from the Japanese Embassy in Nicaragua to finance the construction of a six room school, and later obtained financing for a small school library as well. This work required identifying a location to build a school, work with an attorney and the municipality of Mateare to declare the property public domain, have the property registered as state property in the national land registry, and then have the land title passed to the Ministry of Education. Meanwhile, we hired a construction company and supervised its daily activities six months while the buildings went up, and we coordinated between the Japanese Embassy, the Municipality of Mateare, the Ministry of Education, the local community and the buildor all the relevant activities. The school was inaugurated in December, 2006, with the Minister of Education and the Japanese Ambassador present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The resulting Escuela Heroes y Martires de Xiloa was made a dream come true for the impoverished, rural community of the edge of Lake Xiloa and surrounding farms. We named the school in memory of the victims of a terrible massacre conducted by the Nicaraguan Guardia Nacional during the Somoza dictatorship. Most of the children come from illiterate, indigent parents, many of whom moved into a makeshift settlement in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. These children now have, for the first time, a safe, clean structure to attend school, and the teachers and school lunches now provided by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education ensure that more elements of the basic necessities of these children are met to ensure they have a chance at a happy, fulfilled life.

Here, we share some images from a recent visit to the school by students of Apoyo Spanish School. This demonstrates how we consider our commitment to the Nicaraguan people.
Nicaraguan NGO FUNDECI/GAIA in Laguna de Xiloa
These children today have a brand new, well-equipped school, thanks to FUNDECI/GAIA, and assured nutrition thanks to the school lunch program the Ministry of Education has begun there. Photo by Belen Camino Martin.
ONG FUNDECI, Peninsula Chiltepe
This school benefits the children of Laguna de Xiloa and surrounding areas, among the poorest sites in Managua department. Photo by Belen Camino.
Our work on rural development at FUNDECI/GAIA helps us make better run rural communities with happier members who are more likely to participate in and value our nature conservation activities.
Heroes y Martires de Xiloa
Children from the Escuela Heroes y Martires de Xiloa chat with students from Apoyo Spanish School. Photo by Belen Camino.

not-for-profit in Nicaragua
The school director and the president of the local community organization meet with students of the Escuela Heroes y Martires de Xiloa and of Apoyo Spanish School. Photo by Belen Camino.

Lake Xiloa, Escuela Heroes y Martires de Xiloa
The rural area around Escuela Heroes y Martires de Xiloa includes Lake Xiloa, where several endemic fish species are found. Photo by Belen Camino.

education nonprofit Nicaragua FUNDECI/GAIA Belen Camino
The children of Peninsula Chiltepe Nature Reserve now have a beautiful, safe school, thanks to the efforts of FUNDECI/GAIA and the local community and autorities. Photo by Belen Camino Martin.
Conservation in protected areas in Nicaragua requires the involvement of the local population, which in turn requires resolving their basic needs. By assisting in the basic requirements of the local population, we have also been able to improve their organizational capacity, and their consciousness toward the natural resources in their midst. The protection of Lake Xiloa and its endemic fish must involve these people on the front lines.

school project NGO FUNDECI/GAIA
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