Escuela Vera Angelita
Residential school for Girls
With a population of 6.17 million people, Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It ranks 125th on the Human Development Index (of 188 countries surveyed).
Dramatic income inequality and vulnerability to natural disasters (such as earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, volcanic eruptions, landslides, drought, and wildfires) often further exacerbate this situation, hitting an already underdeveloped infrastructure and economy with additional stresses.
Naturally, education indicators are lagging as well. An estimated 7% (or 170,000+) of primary school-age children do not attend school at all. And only 56% of youth who do attend school make it past Grade 5. Only an estimated 17% graduate from secondary school. In rural areas, the statistics are much worse though. As in most parts of the world, teachers are highly under-paid, and schools are poorly equipped and supported to meet the massive education challenges of their communities. A lack of transportation and family/economic pressure to start working & earning an income serve as major barriers to students continuing their studies.
Over the next few years, Visions will be working hard to establish Escuela Vera Angelita – a residential school in Matagalpa, Nicaragua for girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. By making a high-quality education accessible for girls who would otherwise not have access to it, and by providing opportunities for them to engage in extracurricular activities and develop specific skill sets, these students who are typically left behind in the education process (especially children of laborers & migrant workers) will be given the chance to succeed. And indirectly, they will help to contribute to the development of their own families and communities as well.
The school aims to mold a cadre of the brightest minds through a personal development experience that seeks to educate the whole individual. Looking beyond the parameters of formal education alone, the school seeks to provide a unique, engaging, and interactive learning environment in which students have the opportunity to participate in myriad extra-curricular activities, liberal arts education, language development, computer and IT education, professional development, and meaningful cross-cultural exchanges. This institution will eventually span Grades 1 – 12 and shall provide a safe and comfortable residential environment for those young women chosen to attend to pursue a free education.
Ultimately, the idea is to prepare these young women in leading an independent, healthy, goal-driven, and meaningful life and to develop their academic, personal, and professional leadership abilities for active participation in the modern world. Given the many challenges Nicaragua faces in its development, the country needs bright, motivated, and well-rounded leaders to take it forward and make a difference.