VILLA ESPERANZA

Here is the latest news about one of our Mission Partners:  

Forward Edge--Villa Esperanza

Three More Girls To  Graduate!

One in five girls in Nicaragua give birth by the age of 18, most often forcing them to drop out of school, and trapping them in a cycle of poverty. But the girls at the Villa are taught the values of finishing school and staying pure until marriage. Completing high school and pursuing advanced education are two of the greatest tools they can have to break free from poverty and build brighter futures. That’s why we’re excited to share that this December, we will be celebrating our sixth, seventh, and eighth Villa girl to graduate high school! Praise God with us for the hard work of Luisa, Elaysa, andMassiel (pictured below, from left to right), and pray with us for them to see clearly the next steps in God’s plan for their lives.

 

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But education is just one part of what makes this “Village of Hope” a program that holistically meets all the needs of these girls.

 

The new Life Skills Center (LSC), pictured below, is officially up and running! It’s already been used for pastoral training, a family day, and a small celebration on Teacher’s Day to honor the Villa’s tutor, Josenit. Once the funds come in to finish the kitchen, and buy computers, the LSC will be used for computer training, cooking classes, and other forms of vocational instruction for the girls. The LSC opens up a whole new world for them to explore career opportunities.

But the Life Skills Center is just one part of what makes this “Village of Hope” a program that holistically meets all the needs of these girls.

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Fundacion Ortiz Gurdian

Fundacion Ortiz Gurdian

In October, members of the Austin Samaritans Board visited Fundacion Ortiz Gurdian (FOG), a clinic that provides screening and treatment, free of charge, for breast and cervical cancer to women of limited means in Nicaragua.  The women served by this clinic have a monthly income of $175 or less and are not covered by the government insurance program.

Screening is provided at the clinic.  Treatments, other than surgery and radiation therapy, are provided at the clinic.  Surgery and radiation therapy are provided at a nearby hospital and the cost of these treatments is paid by FOG.  Follow-up monitoring is provided for a period of five years.  If at any time during those five years, or later, the cancer reappears, treatment is again provided.

FOG has a very active public awareness program.  Women who are cancer survivors, called “prometoras”, talk to family, friends, and neighbors about the importance of screening and early detection and treatment.  Historically in Nicaragua, cancer carries a stigma; and women do not seek treatment until the cancer is in an advanced stage where it is difficult or impossible to treat.

FOG also has a program to provide cancer survivors with skills and increased self-esteem Approximately 20 women meet each month to participate in this program.

Austin Samaritans is currently exploring assisting the clinic to obtain some biopsy supplies that are not available in Nicaragua.

Colegio Cristiano Presbiteriano (CCP)

In October, members of the Austin Samaritans Board visited Colegio Cristiano Presbiteriano (CCP). CCP is a Christian school run by Korean Presbyterian missionaries. It serves Barrio Hialeah, a poor neighborhood in Managua.

It was exciting to see the growth in the school and the engaged students. In 2012, the highest grade offered by the school was the 6th grade. It has added one additional grade each year so that in 2016 the school offered classes to students in pre-kindergarten through 10th grade. It plans to offer the 11th grade next year. In Nicaragua, the 11th grade is the highest grade offered in high school. Classrooms have been added, and existing classrooms have been improved to accommodate the additional students. There are currently 256 students enrolled at the school.

The computer lab added in 2015 has proven to be very beneficial as well as being one of the most popular classes at the school.

A major source of funding for the school is a student sponsorship program operated by Austin Samaritans. The sponsorship program provides an opportunity for supporters of the school to connect with a specific student and provide encouragement. For more information on becoming a sponsor contact Ki-Mi Fields at kfields@austinsamaritans.org.

Villa Esperanza

In October, members of the Austin Samaritans Board visited Villa Esperanza.  Villa Esperanza was established to provide a safe environment for girls whose families lived in the Managua Municipal Dump and who were at high risk of being physically and/or sexually abused. Most of the girls living at Villa Esperanza originally lived in the dump.  However, when the dump was restructured, the residents of the dump were moved out.  Now, some of the newer girls at Villa Esperanza come from other communities, but they all still come from situations where they were significantly at risk.

Villa Esperanza is a residential facility with four houses.  In three of the houses, there are up to eight girls and a housemother.  The youngest girl is 12.  In the fourth house, the transition house, four of the older girls are developing their skills to live independently.

It is truly incredible to see what has been achieved.  The girls in the transition house are obtaining skills and degrees that will enable them to support themselves.  Perla has completed a course to become a beautician.  Luisa and Katherine are attending the university.  Reyna is completing a technical course in hotel management/tourism.  Reyna is applying for a Walton scholarship to attend a university in the United States.  The staff is encouraged that she has a good chance of obtaining the scholarship.  These young ladies are all looking forward to a life that will be dramatically different from the life they would have experienced had they remained in the dump.

While all of the girls live at Villa Esperanza full time, they are not isolated from their families.  They spend some of their weekends or other time with their family, and the staff at Villa Esperanza stays in contact with family members and works with the families as well as the girls.  From time to time all of the families are invited to social events at Villa Esperanza.

The staff at Villa Esperanza works with the girls to address health problems, educational achievement, spiritual development, and life skills.  Developing skill in English and computers is a priority.  Also, there is a full-time tutor to assist them with school work. A prayer group, Bible study and devotionals are provided by Pastor Ricardo and his wife Leyda, who serve full-time at the home.

Austin Samaritans provides funds to Villa Esperanza to help defray medical costs for the girls.  There are also plans to take netbooks that the girls can use as part of the April 2017 mission trip.

Clinica Medica

In October, members of the Austin Samaritans Board visited Clinica Medica in the Villa Guadalupe barrio.  Villa Guadalupe is home to the families that lived in the Managua Municipal Dump before Spain rehabilitated the area.  Those who live there are severely disadvantaged economically.

Clinica Medica is operated by Manna Project International. The clinic provides the services of a general practitioner and a gynecologist.  The charge for a doctor visit is 20 cordobas (about $0.70), and medicines that can be provided by the clinic pharmacy are free.  The pharmacy at the clinic does not stock all medicines, but it does keep a stock of the ones most commonly prescribed.

The clinic currently has over 2,300 registered patients.  They see approximately 300 patients each month.  The vast majority of those (90%) are women and children.  The patient load continues to increase.  Austin Samaritans is working with Manna Project International to find a way to provide expanded space and services.  Manna Project staff would like to be able to provide the services of a pediatrician.

The clinic has achieved a very important milestone.  After working on it for nearly two years, the clinic recently received full certification and a five-year license from MINSA, the Nicaraguan health agency, to provide primary care, gynecology, and obstetrics.  This will enable the clinic to participate in governmental vaccination drives, provide direct referrals to government facilities for specialized exams and care, and participate in public health campaigns.

The clinic recently had a survey done to determine whether patients have been satisfied with its services.  The survey asked clients to rate the services provided by others (including a free clinic in the barrio that is operated by the government).  The reported level of satisfaction with patient experience at other clinics ranged from good to very bad.  The reported level of satisfaction with patient experience at Clinica Medica was consistently rated as being good or very good.

Club Esperanza School

In October, members of the Austin Samaritans Board visited Club Esperanza in the Villa Guadalupe barrio.  Villa Guadalupe is home to the families that lived in the Managua Municipal Dump before Spain rehabilitated the area.  Those who live there are severely disadvantaged economically.

The Club is doing amazing things for the children, youth, pregnant women and nursing mothers in the community.  The club serves 256 students through four pre-school classes,  tutoring for the higher grades, and financial assistance to high school and university students.  They feed the students two meals each day and also provide meals to pregnant women and nursing mothers.  One of its newest efforts is a program for special needs children.  There are seven children in the program, including children with severe disabilities, autism and Down’s Syndrome.

Hope Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas,  provided funds that enabled the Club to create two gardens to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the feeding program: a small one on the site of the school that has fruit trees (there was a stalk of bananas in the kitchen that had recently been harvested) and a larger garden a short distance away.  The larger garden is planted in a type of squash that is a very popular part of the Nicaraguan diet.  (yes, strange as it may seem, Nicaraguan children like squash!)

Austin Samaritans took additional computer supplies (additional netbooks, batteries and mice) for the computer room.  An Austin Samaritans mission team completed the room and provided it with computers in April of this year.  The computers and computer supplies provided in April and October were donated by long-time supporters of Austin Samaritans.  Chachi, the school administrator, expressed how truly valuable the computer room is and how much it is appreciated.  Students in Villa Guadalupe do not have computers at home, but access to computers is needed to complete their homework.  Before the computer room was placed in operation, these students had to go to a cyber café or just not do the work.  Going to a cyber café was not always an option; and, in any event, it cost money that was not always available.  In addition to being available for homework, the computers have also proven valuable to the tutors during tutoring sessions.

It is truly amazing to see how much this school, the buildings, and the grounds have been improved since it was acquired on short notice by Open Hearts Ministries in February 2013.