Adios Kelsey and Erika!

As Kelsey and Erika wrap up their final days here the center, we want to take this opportunity to say gracias for their hard work planning our orientation.  We feel well-prepared to start teaching English class and begin our work at the center.  This weekend, we will be busy at the Kermes, CCBN’s annual fundraising event.  We, as do many people of the Batahola family, want to say thank you for your wonderful work and orientation! Good luck in your new jobs, and your little birds are ready to fly free!  We are excited to have begun teaching English class and learn more about the center.  There has been much to learn, starting with the basics of where our house is.  But we are confident that in time and with the wonderful assistance of our coworkers, we will learn, share, and enjoy these next two years!

Paz,

Natasha and Clare

Photo: A Gran Despedida to Kelsey and Erika

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Volunteers from Spain give the gift of music

For the month of August, the Center welcomes 2 volunteers from Spain, Bertha and Nacho. They will be focused on giving individual music classes here as well as putting on a concert before they leave. Throughout the day, you can hear them teaching or playing incredible duets, and it’s been a privilege to have them here!!IMG_8858

 

 

-Erika C.

They have arrived!

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The new VMM volunteers arrived safely yesterday around midday and jumped right into the heat of Managua with lots of excitement and curiosity. They took the afternoon to rest with a well-deserved afternoon siesta after a long day of travel and then we celebrated their arrival with an outing to eat pupusas. We’re grateful that we’ll continue to have a lot of bonding time over the next month. Looking forward to getting to know all of you and showing you the ropes!

Hasta pronto,

Kelsey

Countdown to the New Volunteers Begins!

With only 6 weeks left here at the Center, we have been busily preparing for the arrival of the 5th generation of Batahola Volunteers! They will arrive in August for Spanish school and a few weeks of orientation with us here at the Center. We thought we’d give you a little information so that you can get to know them!

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Clare is a 24 year old from Vashon Island, Washington. She studied Law, Societies and Justice at the University of Washington. After graduating, she spent a year serving as a Jesuit Volunteer at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Eastern Washington. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new places, reading, listening to music, going for hikes, and playing ukulele. Her friends describe her as a friendly, open, passionate, caring, and a good listener. Clare first travelled to Nicaragua on a summer exchange in high school, and is very excited to return to work at the Centro Cutlural Batahola Norte! She is looking forward to participating in the Center’s violence prevention initiatives and expanding her understanding of popular education through teaching English classes. She can’t wait to eat some more fried plantains and Gallo pinto and to get to know the surrounding community when she arrives.

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Natasha is from Arlington Heights, Illinois. She just graduated from Marquette University where she studied International Affairs with a focus in International Economic Relations and Spanish. She spent a semester studying abroad in Santiago, Chile and has also taken weeklong trips through a program called Applied Global Business Learning to the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. She has experience working with women in leadership and microfinance and some of her main interests are immigration, economic development as well as women’s rights and empowerment. She also volunteered for a summer teaching English as an Empowering Latinos Mentor. Natasha played the flute and sang in the choir in high school and she has continued singing in her church choir. Her friends describe her as extroverted, funny and expressive. Her hobbies are doing yoga, dancing, Zumba, listening to music and spending time with friends. In the future she would like to work in non-profit fundraising, but for now she’s excited to meet everyone at the Center and jump right into life in Batahola.

We want to welcome Clare and Natasha to the Batahola friends, so if you want to drop them a line during their time of transition I’m sure they would appreciate it. You can contact Clare at clare.morrison@gmail.com and Natasha at natasha.hansen16@gmail.com.

Bienvenidas chicas! We’re excited to see you in two and a half weeks!

-Kelsey & Erika

Photo of the day: Doña Cony and her new kitty!!

 

Doña Cony now has a new cat, his name (if you asked) is Renato Luciano. Many were very disappointed to find out that her old cat Casilda passed a way a few months ago, so Jennifer Marshall gave Cony a new one..And they seem to be getting along just great!!IMG_3840

 

There’s 5 hours left in the campaign!!

 

Today we have officially reached our $15,000 goal! A huge thanks to all of you who have donated, but we aren’t celebrating yet. We still have 5 HOURS to increase benefits for these women in the program. If you haven’t given yet, please join the 127 other donors who have contributed to empowering women to live more independently. Please take 5 minutes to help women like Sobeyda, this mother of 3 who supports her family by making and selling natural juices and traditional Nicaraguan food. A cooking student at the Center, she has been slowly expanding her business with the new things she learns every week in class. We are so close to the finish line, let’s make an impact together!

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https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/life-and-job-skills-for-100-women-in-managua/

Support this beauty student in action with 2 days left in the campaign!!

IMG_4176Beauty student Ciomara is already taking the chance to put her education to use. A mother of 3 daughters, she began doing haircuts for family and neighbors early this year. As she began to earn a little extra money, she started buying products to build her own beauty salon out of her house! This next semester she wants to move from general beauty to styling, and hopes to be able to support her daughters through college one day.

We have $500 left on the matching grant, please consider donating to help us reach 200 women. Double your impact today!

 

 

 

Home Visits With Batahola Graduates: Part 1

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If you haven’t already seen her in many of my other blog posts, this is Amanda Perez. She is basically my Batahola mother who also used to be a student at the Cultural Center. If you haven’t yet heard her story, we’re featuring it on a series of home visits we’re doing with graduates who have successfully gone on to use their skills to generate their own form of income. So here’s Doña Amanda…

“I’m 56 years old and I live just two blocks away from the Cultural Center. I live with my mother, my daughter and three of my granddaughters. I took the handicrafts class in 2012 and since then I have been using the skills I’ve learned to sell things that I make from my house. My specialty is piñatas, which I get a lot of orders for when neighbors have birthday parties. I also make foam figures, jewelry and recycled crafts that I sell for a profit.

This is a form of work that has helped my family economically and it has also helped me keep my mind active. With these skills I’ve also been able to save a lot of money on my own grandchildren’s parties because I can make the decorations, piñata and gifts by hand. I’ve also had the opportunity to give some informal classes to other women who want to learn handicrafts.

The Center is a great resource for the community that benefits so many children, adolescents and older women like me. I hope that by supporting my family, my daughters and granddaughters can get a good education and get ahead in this tough economy and job market. My goal is to always continue learning. I’m planning to take the Cake Decorating class at the Center in the coming year so I can continue to have a variety of products to sell from my house.”

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If you like Amanda’s story and want to support the work the Cultural Center is doing, click here to check out our Global Giving crowd funding page. Or give us a like on Facebook to follow the work we’re doing at Friends of Batahola. And now is a great time to give because, starting tomorrow, we can double your gift! A generous donor has offered to match 1:1 for up to $1,000 between Friday (June 26th) and Monday (June 29th). This means that any gift, big or small, can go twice as far in helping support our projects that work with young women. So let’s rally for Batahola! We’re so close to reaching our goal of supporting 200 women in gaining life and job skills; so we hope you’ll help us get there!

Paz y amor,

Kelsey