A Firsthand Look at Poverty Conditions for the Children We Serve in Nicaragua, Part 1

Witnessing poverty’s effects on the children in Unity 4 Orphans’ ESL program in Nicaragua, one volunteer shares her experience and encourages child sponsorship.

Every year, U4O founder Joe Brandi visits our ESL program in Miramar, Nicaragua to connect with the children and staff, hear their needs and celebrate progress in pursuing English fluency. The biggest vision, yet to be realized but in the planning stages, is building the Transformation Center to better serve the children and families in the area.

ESL classrooms are subject to environmental conditions

Relational Consistency Changes the Lives of Underprivileged Children

This past July, Joe was accompanied by Paul and Sara Giret, a newly married couple with unique talents they applied to help spread the word of our mission and share the children’s stories. Paul, a talented videographer, documented life in the small coastal village while Sara took on a more observant role, filling in the places where she was needed and getting to know the kids in U4O’s ESL program.

“The relational consistency between Joe and the kids is living proof that the program works!”

–Sara Giret, U4O Volunteer

Sara immediately noticed the relationship that Joe has with many of the kids. They know him, and it is evident that his heart bursts open when they connect with him. The transformation in the kids is also obvious, and their growing knowledge of English is clearly a source of hope and pride.

Simple homes are commonplace in Miramar Nicaragua

Vulnerable Children Eager to Learn Despite Conditions in Homes and Classrooms

The reality of the conditions the children are forced to learn in can be staggering, but their positive attitudes and dedication to learning despite many obstacles are astonishing. Nicaragua has a tropical climate, and with most of the homes and other structures constructed from makeshift materials, they must tolerate the elements in ways that most Americans wouldn’t.

On more than one occasion, heavy rains pelted the corrugated metal roof, making it difficult to hear. Though it has a roof, the classroom has mostly open walls, and storms can cause rain to blow in sideways. Instead of complaining, students simply relocated their desks to the drier side of the classroom, eager to continue learning. Despite the weather, mosquitoes, broken desks, cracked whiteboards, and everything in poor condition, they don’t use that as an excuse.

Students make do with available equipment in Miaramar Nicaragua

“They deserve a center that’s nice, clean, neat, and well structured. The center would also attract more teachers as it’s less appealing for educators to take the job.”

–Sara Giret, U4O Volunteer

Impoverished Children’s Hopes for Helping Others When They Grow Up

San Diego charity Unity 4 Orphans’ founder Joe Brandi with ESL students in Nicaragua

The kids often give presentations in class to practice their English language skills, and one topic some chose was “When I grow up…” A couple of students immediately launched into how they plan to help others when they become successful. One boy who stands out in Sara’s memory shared his enthusiasm for Unity 4 Orphans’ ESL program and his certainty that being bilingual will change his life.

a student reading a book in English as a part of San Diego charity Unity 4 Orphans’ ESL program in Nicaragua

Another student, a 15-year-old girl who is clearly advanced in her English-speaking skills, wants to be a teacher someday and spoke passionately about giving back. Witnessing kids who have so little but share such altruistic goals inspires their fellow classmates and also hits deeply for people in the US looking for ways to support children living in poverty.

The caliber of the children in our program in Nicaragua who have few material possessions but such big hearts stokes our passion to help them break the cycle of poverty. To come alongside a child through regular sponsorship, visit our sponsorship page and select a child to change a life!

Read Part 2 of this blog post series

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