Bienvenidos! We have officially reached our halfway point of our AMAZING trip. We had a pretty chill day today and it was spent mostly in the hostel. We woke up at 7:15 (after discussion whether we should wake up at 7 or 7:30) to the very humid weather and had breakfast at the typical yet wonderful IMABITE! After breakfast, we headed back to the hostel to discuss education and this morning’s speaker, Lic. Blanca Rosa Cruz.

“Let is pick up our books and pens. They are the most powerful weapons. One child, one book, one pen, and one teacher can change the world” -Malala Yousafzai. This was a quote that we had to reflect upon the whole day. We discussed that you can get education without having much resources; it’s just as simple as having 4 things. Moments after our discussion, she showed up to talk about her time as a special needs teacher.

Blanca Rosa Cruz is a Vice Principal at the Special Education School, Angela Morales Aviles. She has dedicated 14+ years worth of time here at this school. Angela Morales Aviles was founded in 1974 by Jilma Balladares who donated the land for students with special needs after realizing that her daughter with down syndrome needed education. When the school was founded, there were about 20 students enrolled and now they have 157 students enrolled! They teach students with special needs like down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, autism, hearing impairment, etc. There are 45 staff members who dedicate their time at the school to help these students. 256 students had integrated to regular education after graduating from Angela Morales Aviles. Blanca explained that she has a constant need of urgency to help everyone who needs extra support. It was truly a blessing to know that the special needs students are getting a fair education as everyone else because they are just as important as students without special needs.

Our second speaker arrived after lunch and our English tutoring preparation time. FDCONIC (Fundacion para el Desarollo Comunitario Nicaraguense) had the pleasure to come and present about who they are and what they do. During the presentation, we learned that FDCONIC is a vocational school that caters to people who wants a degree while working a job. They offer classes with professions such as stylist, nurse, pharmacist, etc. FDCONIC is approved by the government so they give certificates of courses so the students can use the certificates to look for jobs after they graduate. Overall, FDCONIC is an amazing program for people who need to support their family while getting an education to raise their income.

We had the pleasure to see a great documentary about Nicaragua’s education. The documentary hit on the point that many of Nicaragua’s teachers are not passionate about their jobs and most of them discipline and humiliate their students instead of working towards helping their students succeed. This results in the students losing their motivation and drop out after a few months into school. A shocking point that we all saw is that 126/ 2837 students pass the math exam and 77/1218 students passed the admission test. It just shows that the education system in Nicaragua should definitely be changed starting with the way the teacher teaches their class.

Something to highlight about today is that we had our first tropical storm! It was a great change to the weather after all the sun and heat that we had been getting. We also got our laundry done so we are all very stoked about that. Other than that, we have another wonderful day planned out and I am so excited for you all to know more about it!

Love,

Wendy Ly

P.S. WE ALL MISS YOU!

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