28 ago. 2011

NEW Blog address

Hi Hogar Supporters!
We have a new blog address (because we have a NEW and IMPROVED website!! - SO exciting!!)
You can find it here: http://thesunrisefoundation.org/blog/

20 jun. 2011

New Supplies for a New Boxing Coach

As part of our commitment to the Youth Boxing program in Camoapa (that targets street kids), our Hogar Luceros program provides all meals, Monday through Friday, to the trainer Carlos, who lives in Managua and travels back and forth to Camoapa every week. Recently, our Program and Development Coordinator, Emily, who travels to and from the United States brought back to Camoapa with her a large donation of used boxing supplies, all in good shape. These supplies included 6 pairs of gloves, 4 sets of handwraps, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 headgears, 4 protective cups, 1 chest guard and 1 set of trainer mitts.

Our new trainer, Carlos, hails from Managua. He comes from a family of boxers and has been training since he was small. He is 24 years old, and has fought in over 60 fights. Though this is his first experience as a trainer, he has lived a life similar to the kids that he is training, giving him the background necessary to understand them and their struggles. He also comes highly recommended from a couple of our boxing contacts from Managua. He has been in Camoapa for several months now and he has shown outstanding commitment to both the kids and teens he is coaching as well as the small children we have here at the Hogar.

31 may. 2011

Cashews, cashews and more cashews

Apart from the crops we harvest (beans, corn, yucca, peppers, jamaica, etc.), we are slowly developing our 25-acre farm into a local vivero (nursery) so that we can do our part to address the deforestation problem in Nicaragua. As one of the largest cattle production areas in the country, Camoapa continues to graze and develop its luscious land for beef and milk export, resulting in significant deforestation of this mid-highland region. Over to the last 6 years, we have planted over 1000 trees, including mango, avocado, coffee, cashew, lime, orange, papaya, oak and mahogany. Our current project is seeding over 100 new cashew trees for future harvest.

The cashew nut (seed) hangs off the bottom of the fruit which is shaped like a pear. The picture below shows the nut and fruit from one of our mature trees. From time of planting, trees take about 3 years to harvest.

12 may. 2011

A Bittersweet Goodbye

Here at the Hogar, lots of excellent and generous volunteers come through our doors, stay for a few weeks or sometimes months; they give a little back and are then on their way to other exciting adventures. But every once in a while we get volunteers that give a LOT back and are truly missed once they are gone. Drew, our theater teacher and Jordan, our play-group specialist (both from Colorado) were the best of the best. They brought a new form of energy and creativity to our program (and even to other adult groups in town). Our staff miss them, the kids keep talking about them and everyone hopes that one day they will come back to visit.

Here Drew and Jordan are seen playing creative theater games and supporting the kids in their first-ever theater performances.

26 abr. 2011

Sustaining Quality Education is Hard!

Some of you may be following the recent controversy over alleged fraudulent claims by Greg Mortenson, Executive Director and founder of the Central Asia Institute (CAI) and author of Three Cups of Tea. First aired on 60 Minutes, Mr. Mortenson, who claims to have built schools and supported educational initiatives in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan, has been accused of mishandling the financials of his organization, monetarily benefiting from his book proceeds as well sensationalizing and at times flat out lying about his personal experiences.

Without taking sides or passing judgements over this man's work, or the education that is or is not happening in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan, we would like to share the following article and some of our own thoughts about the challenges of international development work and providing sustainable quality education to under-served people in developing countries. This article was written in direct response to the ongoing outrage over the Three Cups of Tea scandal.

Click here to read the article:
Three Cups of BS, written by Alanna Shaikh

The aftermath of this scandal coming to light could have significant consequences (both good and bad) for all international development projects. And those of us who are focusing on education may feel the brunt of those consequences (whether that is an increase of hoops we have to jump through or a smaller flow of international aid money.) The point we would like to make, however, is that all of us who work in this field should not be afraid to talk about the problems we face, the difficulties we have to overcome on a daily basis and the time that it takes to really make a program succeed for the children and people that it is serving. Development work is not easy (even when we might have a lot of money to spend) and we should always celebrate the small achievements. But simultaneously, we have to be aware of the dangers; whether that is the misuse of money, growing too large too quickly or trusting the wrong people. These problems can, of course, happen anywhere at any time, but with international programs, where programmatic and fiscal oversight is often less strictly enforced, we ourselves have to be vigilant of the risks without falling into the traps. We should impose our own oversight, and be honest with ourselves and with our supporters about exactly how we are making a difference and what we are doing with the money.

This controversy should not dissuade us from doing the hard work, from looking for support from the outside or from feeling shamed into hiding information. In fact, it should do the opposite. And maybe this can serve as a wake up call to the rest of the world about how hard our jobs really are.

To all of you international workers out there - Keep fighting the good fight!

7 mar. 2011

Our 8th School Year!

We just recently celebrated our 7th birthday on February 4th. That means that we are entering our 8th school year for Hogar Luceros del Amanecer and our 2nd full year of our newer outreach program, Ayudame a Crecer! Yes, we are still going strong! With a small grant from Camoapa's sister city, Arcata, CA, we were able to get enough school supplies (notebooks, pencils, pens, backpacks and uniforms) to send off all our 75 children looking and feeling good for their first days of the new school year.

Here are some pictures of our first parent meeting, our folkloric dancers to celebrate and some of the school supplies getting passed out to parents.

25 ene. 2011

Theater Class!!

We have been blessed with two incredible volunteers from Colorado.

Drew is a high school drama teacher who has been working hard with our kids to develop their creativity in a way that they have never seen or experienced. He started with basic theater games, moving to charades and finally has been working with some of the older kids and the adolescents to write a version of "Beauty and the Beast" which they will soon perform for the Hoger Luceros community. Most of the youth began this process feeling uncomfortable acting and performing in front of each other. Many of them goofed around, some chose to sit out altogether. But with persistence and allowing them time to let their guards down, they eventually warmed up. The classes are truly in full swing and the kids are really enjoying themselves (as you can see from the photos!)

Jordan, our other volunteer, helps Drew with the theater class and also holds play groups with the younger children of the Ayudame a Crecer program. She also spends a few days a week volunteering at the Casa de la Mujer, a program for women in Camoapa. She has a background in both theater and psychology.

To see more photos of our new theater class, check out our photo album on facebook.

14 ene. 2011

Our Birthday Wish

Hogar Luceros del Amanecer and The Sunrise Foundation have teamed up (yet again) to create a birthday wish through our CAUSES page on Facebook. This social media site allows us to reach more individuals and organizations that are dedicated to changing the world and it encourages them to provide us with their support. YEAH!

This year, for our 7th birthday (February 4th,) we have set a simple fundraising goal of $500. With a contribution of just $25 from 20 of our supporters, we can reach this goal in no time flat. So will you consider sending us a birthday present? Your support will help Nicaraguan children learn, grow and continue to stay healthy. Please contribute TODAY!
Just click on the CAUSES icon above and it will bring you directly to our birthday wish webpage! You can also view and/or become a member of our CAUSE by clicking right here.