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.
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
Sep 24, 2014

Wisconsin Nicaragua Student Partners update

Project Welcome at SPASH
Project Welcome at SPASH

Wisconsin Nicaragua Student Partners (WNSP), a student organization at the Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) in Stevens Point, WI kicked off the new school year with Rachel & Rachel, 2014/2015 co-presidents, hosting a colorful booth at the Project Welcome event. The event helps new and returning students scope out groups to get involved with during the upcoming school year. The youth group meets regularly to come up with fun and exciting ways to help out Nicaraguans while sharing/learning about each other’s cultures and sparking long lasting international friendships. Past and upcoming community service projects include packaging at the warehouse, participating in the bike-hike, and gathering school supplies to send to Nicaragua. The Student Partners is a great way for students at SPASH to get involved in their own community and make an impact across the globe!

Youth involvement gets students thinking about their communities and beyond, in some cases incorporating "international" thinking as a part of their life.   Encouraging the next generation of leaders to think and address local as well as global issues across neighborhoods and nations is in everyone's best interest.   

In addition to activities throughout the school year, there will also be a Youth Exchange this summer, June 15 - 23, 2015 for Wisconsin students to travel to Nicaragua.  Contact wnp@uwsp.edu for more details and information.     

“I certainly learned a lot on this trip not only about another country's culture but also the way people can act toward one another with so much kindness when they do not even know someone. This trip has without a doubt changed how I look at life. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, I will never forget it.” Erin, 2010 Youth Exchange

WNSP Co-Presidents, Rachel and Rachel
WNSP Co-Presidents, Rachel and Rachel
Jul 3, 2014

"...to talk English is to open doors"

English classes at the MGA Office
English classes at the MGA Office

Introducing new classes and opportunities as well as providing ongoing support and continuing education for Learning Center (LC) Project volunteers in Nicaragua is a vital part of W/NP program development.  Many of the Nicaraguans have expressed their desire to learn English. Petronila, LC student turned leader, was inspired by Sherin and Lynda, two longtime WI volunteers, and as a result took on the challenge to pursue an English Career at UNAN and offer English Classes to other LC volunteers in Nicaragua. Isabel, another cornerstone of LC activities and former English teacher, is also volunteering her skills to help others learn English. It was a delight to hear the following comments during the project monitoring and evaluations:

Sandra, “I am an active volunteer. I am motivated to learn English because I want to talk directly with Wisconsin volunteers and be able to share my feelings.   To have English skills will provide me other opportunities to earn income, for example, to translate for other LC’s I work with. To talk English is to open doors.”

Aura, “It is so important to attend classes. I felt encouraged to start over again after studying English in the past. English skills will help me to be able to communicate with any American people, and I have relatives in the U.S. and this will help me when I go there. My goal is to teach English in my neighborhood and community.”

Aura shared with us that she found out about the English Classes while attending the Monthly Learning Center Meetings that are held at the Managua Office.   Having the Learning Center Leaders/Coordinators gather monthly has proven to be an effective method of sharing ideas, information and coming up with new ways to achieve their goals.

The English class participants invite English speaking volunteers to be part of the program, either via Skype or during their visits to Nicaragua.

For more information please contact the W/NP office wnp@uwsp.edu and thank you for helping these volunteers achieve their educational and personal goals.

Students of all ages
Students of all ages
Aura and Marcia sporting their UWSP shirts
Aura and Marcia sporting their UWSP shirts
Isabel sharing her skills
Isabel sharing her skills
Diddman our "repair" specialist studying hard
Diddman our "repair" specialist studying hard
Learning is forever
Learning is forever

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