Who are we?
FOBV is a new volunteer program that works with the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte in Managua, Nicaragua. The program was started by Christine Ruppert and Laura Hopps, both graduates of Boston College in ’07, in collaboration with the Center.
Where do we Work?
The Centro Cultural Batahola Norte (CCBN) is a technical training and holistic education center focused on the empowerment of women and youth in the community for social transformation. It was founded in 1983 by Sister Margie Navarro, CSJ, and Fr. Ángel Torrellas, OP during the U.S.-backed Contra War in Nicaragua.
Over the past 24 years the CCBN has helped over 2,000 women and youth to defend their rights, find and develop new sources of income and improve their living standards. We currently offer a varied program of basic adult education and vocational training that is approved by the National Technological Institute (INATEC) and coordinated with the Ministry of Education (MECD). Approximately 500 students enroll in 25 different technical and domestic arts courses each year.
– Literacy (basic adult education through 6th grade)
– Basic Accounting
– Computer Science
– Communicative English
– Cooking (including national and international cooking classes, pastry making, cake decorating, etc)
– Natural Medicine
Art programs include:
– Music lessons
– Painting and drawing
– Dance (Latin dance and folkloric)
The CCBN also provides a scholarship program to help young people to continue their formal education and a 5,000-volume library open to the public. We also seek to support the healthy development of young people through the arts, offering classes and performance opportunities in folkloric dance, music, painting and theatre. Since 1994 we have enabled over 100 young people from poor families to finish their studies (primary through university levels) and become trained professionals, including lawyers, doctors, translators, social workers, journalists, business administrators, physical therapists, engineers, and musicians.
Friends of Batahola Volunteers is a 2-year program that brings young people from the U.S. to live and work in Nicaragua. Volunteers seek to accompany the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte in its mission of empowering women and youth for social transformation. Volunteers dedicate themselves to the development of their spirituality and social consciousness through their community life.
Accompaniment: Batahola Volunteers strive to live and work in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people through their commitment to simple living within the community of Batahola Norte. Volunteers open themselves to learning, listening, and sharing with community members.
Social Justice: Batahola Volunteers’ methodology is one of praxis, the cycle of action and reflection upon action for social change. A commitment to social justice is lived out through work focused on empowerment, especially of women. Volunteers contribute through a stewardship of their time, energy, experience, and talents to collaborate with the community. Batahola Volunteers also commit themselves to searching for nonviolent solutions to poverty and oppression in their work and community life.
Community of Faith: Batahola Volunteers live in a community of faith, in which volunteers share and explore spirituality together and with the larger community.
What do we do?
The work of FOBV volunteers depends on the interests, artistic, musical or other skills, and the needs of the Centro Cultural.
Some of the work Christine and Laura have done include:
– Creation of an English program for working adults
– Accompaniment of a women’s quilting collective
– Facilitation of a women’s reflection group to focus on self-esteem, intra-family violence, and
– Help in the creation of a micro-enterprise course
– Creation of a weblog to promote international awareness of the reality of Nicaragua and a
solidarity network to support the CCBN
– Participation in a Central American youth conference on gangs, drugs, and violence
– Youth organizing to create a group to focus on formation, education, and action in the
community around issues such as: environmental protection, HIV/AIDS awareness, gender
equality, and others
– Organization of a micro-enterprise fair to sell the goods of local collectives and cooperatives
Living in Nicaragua:
Friends of Batahola Volunteers is supported by the non-profit organization VMM, an ecumenical Christian organization that provides volunteers with:
– Medical and life insurance, including 3 months of medical insurance after completion of service
– Monthly stipend
– Pre-departure orientation
– Visa expenses
– Spanish language training
– Annual retreats with other volunteers throughout Central America
– $1,000 re-entry stipend upon completion of service
As part of the program, volunteers spend one month before their arrival in a Teaching English as a Foreign Language program.
Volunteers live in a simple but comfortable house that belongs to the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte, and is located adjacent to the Center. Each volunteer has her/his own room. Rent and electricity is included in the program, and volunteers pay for other utilities from their stipend.
Who We Are Looking For:
We are looking for 2 highly motivated young people over the age of 21 committed to learning about and participating in social change. Women and men are welcomed to apply. A high level of Spanish competency is required, and a college degree or equivalent. We welcome applicants of diverse races, faiths, nationalities, sexual orientations, and physical abilities to apply.
We have a preference for people who have spent time previously in Latin America for 3 months or longer and have knowledge of the cultural and historical context.
The Centro Cultural Batahola Norte is an exciting and dynamic work environment. We encourage applicants to apply who can work well independently as well as collaboratively, are flexible, and have a strong commitment to social justice and their own personal growth.
How to Apply:
If you are interested in applying to the program, please email us with your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you with further instructions.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Laura & Christine