The need for education in Nicaragua is overwhelming. 35% of all school age children are not in school. There are many reasons for this staggering reality and to meet that need we have dedicated a large amount of our time and resources toward primary and secondary education. The Christian schools founded and operated by our mission have grown from 15 children to a combined registration of over 730 students. The school directors; Danira Sanchez and Alexandra Mendozaare a true blessings to us and to the students they minister to in the schools. These women and the teachers they supervise make these schools a true outreach ministry. The schools are operated in coordination with local churches to ensure that the school programs are tied with the life and outreach of a Christian community.
The Bible is taught in the classrooms. Because the schools are located in very poor neighborhoods they are safe centers for the children to learn. Often the children come from very poor and even violent home situations. At the San Benito school alone this year, two families with five of our students have had parents murdered leaving them in the care of neighbors and grandparents. In these critical situations, I do not exaggerate to say that the mission’s schools are the most stable and healthy factor in these kid’s lives. In these critical situations our concern goes beyond education and we provide food and medical assistance. Recently three students and one mother were baptized. It has been a great privilege to impact so many lives through the school programs over the years. We pray for continued open doors to make our strengths even stronger. We envision, with God’s help a small residential center for some of the children in the most desperate situations. Also we are praying for ways to extend education as part of our outreach in the Tribal Areas.
Current Education Updates:Harvest Initiative (HI) has two fixed Education initiatives: the schools Colegio El Pequeño Benjamin (Pi-cane-yo Ben-ha-min: Little Benjamin) and Colegio La Cosecha (La Co-say-cha: Harvest Community School).
Pequeño Benjamin is one of HI’s longest running projects—probably because we had the good sense to give its operation over to some very faithful and remarkable Nicaraguans. Located in Tipitapa and founded in 1999 the school enrolls 520 students from Preschool to Secondary. The Director is Alexandra Mendoza leads a staff of 23 teachers and support personnel. 2014 marks the first graduating high school class, 12 students received their diplomas. Only about 7% of Nicaraguans have graduated High School so a diploma puts a young person in a very good position to escape poverty. To allow for continued expansion the first of several planned second story classrooms has been added.
La Cosecha is newer—just a few years old. It began much as Pequeño Benjamin did: a small school on dirt roads in a poor community staffed by dedicated teachers who wanted good things for their children. located in San Benito has 215 students from preschool to Sixth Grade. Founded in 2010, the Harvest School program has really “grown up” this year with enrollment of 215 students. In 2014 we have been able improve teacher’s salaries and enroll them in insurance and retirement plan. This is the first year fifth and sixth grades have been large enough to merit separate classes, our enrollment grows each year. Student attendance has greatly improved as well as staff morale. Additional adjacent land was purchased this year as well as completion of the north section of perimeter security wall. Danira and Carolina Escorcia, the Director and Assistant Director, please pray for these two ladies, they make this school a real ministry. Danira and her husband Pedro also organize Bible studies and outreach activities for the students and families.
Both schools are fiscally responsible, but not locally sustainable. Students pay tuition—about a day’s wage per student monthly. This is important as it makes a child’s education an investment for the entire family. The investment, however, does not cover the schools operational needs. Staff, utilities, supplies and government fees exceed tuition costs. Support for keeping these schools going comes from all of you—from the individuals, churches, and organizations that partner with our efforts.
Recent changes in donations have made funding these schools more difficult. Please consider supporting Harvest Initiative as we partner with the community for Christian Education.