Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, Inc.

W/NP is a progressive and viable humanitarian service organization actively implementing programs in both Wisconsin and Nicaragua. W/NP's goals are to promote mutual understanding and establish lasting relationships among citizens and institutions of Wisconsin and Nicaragua; foster volunteerism and self-help attitudes through the implementation of economic and social development projects; leverage development assistance funds from the U.S. Government and other public and private sources.
May 31, 2015

Decorative (Origami variations) Bag Class

Petronila explains the steps to follow
Petronila explains the steps to follow

Throughout the year, various classes are offered for Learning Center Coordinators and participants.  May 14th, 2015 one of the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners (W/NP) Learning Center instructors, Petronila, taught a bag making workshop at the W/NP office in Managua.

This workshop has the particularity that the first training was imparted by one of the Wisconsin volunteers that came with the Learning Center Trek earlier this year. The class is being reproduced by leaders that attended the workshop taught by Nancy in February. It is a great idea and the bags can be made in different sizes and with different types of fabric. It can have many uses. All the materials that were used such as printed fabric, solid colors fabric, thread, felt decoration, needles, scissors and paper were donated by the participants.

It was interesting to hear the following comments from class participants: 

While making her first bag, Leonor comments, “ .. the workshop was very motivating; we all could accomplish the final product desired. In my opinion I will practice it in different sizes, which can be useful for birthday parties, purisimas and other events.”

While working, Ana said “I feel Happy, the teacher is excellent, and there is nothing to complain about”
Silvia feels, “the class was great, I like to learn new things and I always participate in the weekly or monthly workshops.”
Amelia expressed, “ I learned something new and I am thinking I could sell these bags.”
Lastly, Petronila summarized, “As a teacher I loved that my students easily learned the technique and procedure to make the bag. They all finished it. I like imparting classes and sharing my knowledge. It is the legacy I want to leave.”

Thank you to all the people who help the W/NP Learning Center Project continue, many efforts come together that produce a very significant impact. 

Leonor making her first bag
Leonor making her first bag
Learning new techniques
Learning new techniques
"I feel happy working..."
"I feel happy working..."
Creative ideas among group discussion
Creative ideas among group discussion
The finished products
The finished products
Mar 26, 2015

2015 Learning Center Trek

Knitting workshop
Knitting workshop

On an annual basis, Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, offers a special travel opportunity (self-funded) to get an up close look at the Learning Center Project. The Learning Center Trek is a great introduction to Nicaragua, and provides a clear understanding of how “working together, does make a difference”. The financial donations and in-kind support from a wide variety of people have significantly helped expand the scope of classes offered through the “Sewing Centers” turned “Learning Centers", so it is only fitting we offer an opportunity to see first-hand the Learning Center Project in action. The self-governed Learning Centers in Nicaragua have become very successful as they address the desire for continued education and learning new skills.

This past February, W/NP volunteers shared workshops at three of the Learning Centers. The following is a post-workshop report written by the women of the Erlinda Lopez Learning Center.  

“For six consecutive years, we have had a pleasant visit from the people of Wisconsin in our learning center "ERLINDA LOPEZ", this visit has been a boom, since in these visits the people of Wisconsin have taught over four hundred women from Managua in different crafts (canvas, jewelry, fashion, bag making, preparation of cases, Christmas ornaments, ribbon work, weaving, glass worketc.) The knowledge shared from each class is making each woman to improve home economy, improve their self-esteem, reproduce knowledge to other women and families, a better personal growth and even to create small businesses.

Also having a first aid course has helped us to prepare for any emergency, we are in a country in permanent emergency because of the floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic movements etc, so then to train women in first aids is more than important so that they can save lives, preserve lives, All this learning experience gives greater value to teaching received.

On Feb 26 and 27, we felt deeply grateful and blessed with the presence of the friends from Wisconsin. I’d like to point out the glass recycling class received on the 26th, we felt it was spectacular and now women are giving use to glass bottles before they throw them away, incomes are being generated for sustainability of the families. This gives us satisfaction as we are generating capacities in women who help their financial situations and personal growthAt the center Erlinda Lopez we work with 55 women but had a total of 113. That means 58 women were from other learning centers (participated).  They all had the joy to participate in all the different classes taught.”

Reviews of learning at Erlinda Lopez Learning Center

  • We appreciate your time and dedication
  • We are happy that you visit us every year but we‘d like it to be twice a year
  • Thank you for teaching because it also teaches us to work
  • We are happy that you come and teach us crafts so that it helps support the household economy
  • Your visit is important for exchange and learning experience
  • Thank you, your visit lifts our self-esteem and teaches us to develop skills
  • Thank you for teaching us and share your time
  • Knowledge makes us free and independent economically
  • With the learning, we can teach other women and involve their families
  • Thanks for the eyeglasses
  • We hope you come back soon with volunteers so that we can continue to learn
  • Thanks friend from Wisconsin for thinking and supporting women in Nicaragua
  • Thanks for being a humanist, for teaching us to be better

Finally, the collective group of women would like to thank all volunteers from Wisconsin, towns, women, youth, third age people, housewives and children, -- we have hopes, dreams, goals, and together we can build a better world of entrepreneurs and peace.

By:  WOMEN COLLECTIVE CASA ERLINDA LOPEZ

 

Eyeglass distribution
Eyeglass distribution
Making pillow cases
Making pillow cases
Sharing post-workshop thoughts
Sharing post-workshop thoughts
Yoga workshop
Yoga workshop
Sewing tote bags
Sewing tote bags
Nov 5, 2014

Herlinda Lopez Learning Center serves 800+

Aura with jewelry
Aura with jewelry

Over the past 30 years, the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners (W/NP) “Sewing Centers” transitioned into “Learning Centers” as more skills became increasingly necessary and useful.   All of the W/NP Learning Centers maintain the common goal of providing opportunities for skill enrichment and development, yet each self-governed Learning Center is unique and special in their own ways.  For this reason, in the upcoming reports, we would like to feature various Learning Centers that will help illustrate their distinctive diversity and the significant impact they have upon their communities.

Since it´s opening in 2009, the Herlinda Lopez Learning Center has offered a variety of classes and programs for the women and families of the Managua neighborhood of Plaza España. From 2013 to 2014, this Learning Center directly served approximately 800 women, and through them, impacted hundreds of families within the community.   The classes currently offered at this center include sewing, jewelry making, and a variety of handicrafts such as piñatas, decorative pillows, and flower decorations, among others. The skills learned in these classes help the women of the Herlinda Lopez Learning Center to improve their economic situation and as a result, elevate the living conditions of themselves and their families.   In addition to using these skills at home to make their own clothes or to make and repair the school uniforms of their children and grandchildren, some of these women have also started their own small businesses where they can sell clothing and other handicrafts within their community. In addition to serving women, this learning center offers cultural groups for young adults and, thanks to donations from W/NP, can give out books and other school materials to needy children within the community.

The Herlinda Lopez Learning Center is particularly grateful for the sewing machines, sewing materials, and exam tables that have been donated recently by Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners. These and all of the other donations from W/NP have allowed the Learning Center to continue to grow and offer important classes within the community. In particular, this Learning Center works for the advancement of women. The skills learned in the Learning Center classes contribute to the betterment of the women and their families, but can also give women greater freedom and financial independence. In some cases, this has allowed women to escape controlling or violent situations at home.

In the words of the Isabel Arauz, one of the Herlinda Lopez Learning Center Coordinators:

We have gown as people and as human beings. Due to the furniture donations from W/NP, we have better working conditions which have allowed us to better serve the women, young adults, and children who come to the center. All of the donations from W/NP have allowed us not only to stimulate and bring joy, but also to break the limits put upon retired women in our community.”

During 2014, the Herlinda Lopez Learning Center hopes to touch the lives of 400 new women in Plaza España community.  The center offers women opportunities to better their own lives and the life of the community by giving them the tools to develop both individual and collective community goals for growth and advancement.

Thank you for helping to make these and many other opportunities possible through the W/NP Lifting up through Learning Projects!

Luisas specialty is costura (sewing)
Luisas specialty is costura (sewing)
Maritza and Maritza specialize in making pinatas
Maritza and Maritza specialize in making pinatas
Housewives learning basic sewing
Housewives learning basic sewing
Former WI Lt. Gov at Herlinda Lopez LC
Former WI Lt. Gov at Herlinda Lopez LC
Variety of classes offered
Variety of classes offered

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