A five-room secondary school will be constructed to extend the education of youth living in the remote Bosawas Biosphere Reserve — home to the Miskito and Mayagna peoples, currently the most impoverished population in Central America. The school will be built in the community of Tuburus.
Nicaragua has a population of nearly 6 million people. Nearly 25% of the population over the age of 10 is illiterate, a statistic that rises to over 51% in rural areas. For hundreds of years, the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve has been home to the Miskito and Mayagna peoples. Here, the situation is exacerbated by isolation, lack of resources, poor health conditions, child malnutrition, and child labor, since many poor children must contribute to their family’s income. The BOSAWAS has the lowest literacy rates in Nicaragua.
The majority of secondary-school-level youth do not have the resources to travel to the only secondary school in the region, located a great distance downstream in San Andres. The poor, particularly girls, are less likely to be allowed to leave their household responsibilities to travel long distances to attend school. Women and girls in this region experience a lack of access to all types of resources. Girls have less access to education than boys do, yet become responsible for the health, hygiene, nutrition, education and personal development of their households. Migration by men to the cities in search of work is increasing, leaving many single mothers behind to provide for the needs of the family, including growing and harvesting food, and caring for children and the elderly. Thus, education for girls often takes a back-seat to other priorities.
Educated people in this region are few and far between, forcing the population to rely on non-indigenous labour, consultants and politicians to occupy positions of responsibility for infrastructure development, agricultural training, education, medical care and business promotion. Only 8 people from this territory currently hold university degrees.
Secondary school construction will provide students in the area, eager to continue their studies, with a roof over their heads. 150 students will be direct beneficiaries of the school construction, and indirectly, the entire population of the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve (32,000+) will be touched by the results.
Change for Children works with the Bosawas indigenous territorial government to expand education opportunities in the region.
Access to education encourages educated community members, including girls, to continue to secondary school and beyond.
Improving education will allow indigenous men and women to occupy positions of responsibility and make intelligent and informed decisions for their people and the forest.