El Rosario is a community that sits at the end of a very long road wrapping around the Cosigüina volcano in northwest Nicaragua. In 2008, when we first arrived in El Rosario but before the Purple Hill Humanitarians were founded, the school was functioning at minimum capacity. Although it had one preschool classroom and three primary classrooms, only a few students would continue their studies through to the end of primary school (Grade 6 in Nicaragua) each year.
The reason? Many students did not have shoes, backpacks, books or pencils. In terms of the school’s basic infrastructure: the building was strong, but the classrooms were sparsely supplied with materials (e.g. desks, blackboards, books). Lastly, there was nowhere for students to eat together in dignity at snack and lunch time. The students at that time would simply sit on the ground to eat their lunch.
Local families approached us and asked if a project to build a ‘comedor’ (cafeteria or lunch room) could be realized. Families also asked if basic school supplies could be supplied to the students.
Two years later, armed with hundreds of donated school supplies (e.g. backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils, shoes) and two very enthusiastic volunteer carpenters from Invermere, B.C., El Rosario’s little school had quite a busy month.