In 2009, the Sister Islands Association and communities on Ometepe tackled projects ranging from latrine repair to providing funding for musical instrument restoration and purchases at 36 island schools. These are collaborative endeavors. Communities on Ometepe request the projects and they provide a contraparte, or contribution, to help make it happen.
The association assisted the San Pedro community in building a 5-by-8-meter school library. We also helped the Los Ramos community build a community rehabilitation center and the Altagracia community build desks for teachers at the Rubén Darío elementary school.
The association helped fund latrine repairs at the high school in La Flor and purchased supplies so that fifth-year students in Altagracia could paint their classroom. The association provided funding to assist the school in La Palma install two drinking fountains and helped the school in Las Pilas install new lights.
School Music Fund
With seed money from coffee sales at the 2008 Bainbridge Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast, the committee established a fund to provide up to $75 to qualifying schools toward repair and in some cases the purchase of musical instruments. The program was wildly successful, with 36 schools obtaining funding.
English Teachers Conference
The association has a long tradition of providing funding to enable English teachers on Ometepe to attend an annual English teachers’ conference in Managua, and 2009 was no different. The association provided funding for 10 teachers.
The association supported the Extra Edad (or Over Age) program at the Ruben Dario elementary school in Altagracia by helping to pay for uniforms, school materials and bus fare for approximately 100 students in 2009.
Extra Edad offers students a chance to complete two years of school in one, so primary school takes just three years, not six. Besides serving students from Altagracia and surrounding towns, Extra Edad also works with former street kids who live at the Si a la Vida center. The program is perfect for students who weren’t able to go to school or had to drop out because of illness, the need to help with farming, lack of money or, in the case of the Si a la Vida kids, time on the street. By taking two years in one, the older students can catch up with their age group more rapidly and with less embarrassment.
Andres Castro Primary School in Tichana received funding to purchase materials for making folkloric dance costumes.
Antonio Bernebe Bravo Sequeira, 15, with the diploma he received thanks to Extra Edad