Jun 26, 2013

Lynda was a stellar example and changed lives!

Lynda promoting the Chica Nica dresses
Lynda promoting the Chica Nica dresses

Since our last update, the women involved with the Learning Center Program in Nicaragua have experienced a tremendous loss with the death of their leader and coordinator, Lynda Lou Pracht.  Lynda died on Wednesday April 24, 2013 in New Richmond, Wisconsin.  Even though as her health condition declined and prevented her travel to Nicaragua, Lynda remained in close contact with her counterparts and attended the monthly meetings via SKYPE. 

A note from Nicaragua:  A life of inspiration, this is what Lynda Pracht means to many people in Nicaragua since 1998. Lynda opened a path of opportunities for our ladies and their families through the Learning Center Program and Chica Nica Project.  For 14 years, the ladies in Nicaragua could see the power of a woman that was providing skills to help empower them.  Ladies in Nicaragua through the W/NP Learning Centers have felt powerful having Lynda.  During these years she directly impacted about 1,000 and indirectly to more than 10,000 people and special ladies in Nicaragua. Sadness came to us about the news that she will not be any more with us, but her legacy will be forever in our hearts. This Saturday the monthly Learning Center meeting will be dedicated to her and we will sing her honor, her favorite Nicaraguan song, Nicaragua Nicaraguita.  14 years of Lynda's dedication to women in Nicaragua has been a really significant second opportunity in life for the ladies most in need in Nicaragua and just we will miss her a lot.     - Moises  

Lynda Pracht took the Learning Center Program to the next level, she touched the hearts and lives of Nicaraguan women though her development of the "Chica Nica" doll dress project.  The magnitude of her influence is hard to fully comprehend.  Lynda coordinated the recording and gathering of over 2,000 sewing machines sent from Wisconsin to Nicaragua, she sold 478 dresses in 2012 alone, and her dedication was overwhelming. 

A little history on Linda....

Lynda Pracht traveled to Nicaragua in 1998 on a W/NP sponsored Sewing Center Tour.  The excellent embroidery and design skills she saw, the enthusiasm of the Nic women, their spirit and their strong desire to become self sufficient, inspired her to find a niche market in the dolls dress trade.  Women from the Sewing/Learning Centers are sewing beautiful dresses, designed to fit 18" dolls - now known as Chica Nica Doll Dresses!  The dresses pass a rigid quality control review.  The Nic women are paid for their work before the dress leaves Nicaragua.  Purchase of these lovely dresses provide income to the home, often the only money coming into the household to support the family.  Women can stay in their community, earn income, learn a skill and live with dignity.

We are honored to carry on with the Learning Center Program and Lynda’s Chica Nica project and invite you to join in helping her legacy continue.  Please see the Chica Nica website to learn more about the doll dresses and women who sew them.    

As a longtime family friend and colleague of Lynda's put it, "It would be wonderful if we all could find a passion like that in later life!"  

Thank you for your interest, support, and consideration for a donation that will help greatly with materials for the Learning Center Classes, much appreciated by many. 

Teaching by example
Teaching by example
Chica Nica lesson by Lynda
Chica Nica lesson by Lynda
Lynda promoting the Chica Nica dresses
Lynda promoting the Chica Nica dresses
Lynda with the class graduates
Lynda with the class graduates
Sewing with Nancy
Sewing with Nancy

Links:

Mar 22, 2013

How Learning Centers are making a difference

2013 Learning Center Committee
2013 Learning Center Committee

March 2013 Update from Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners on the Learning Center Program:

The W/NP Learning Center Program is prime example of how women in Wisconsin are working with women in Nicaragua to guide the self-governed Learning Centers.   Altrusa, Rotary, Women’s Clubs, individuals and Home & Community Education members around the state are collecting donations and much needed sewing items that are sent to the women in Nicaragua for their classes.  Monthly meetings are held at the Managua Office in Nicaragua to offer additional training and information.  Each year a new committee in Nicaragua is elected, we are pleased to share with you the new Learning Center Committee for 2013. 

In photo from left to right Lilliam (Rosa) Gomez - President, Suyen Cerda Martinez - Vice President,  Petronila Solis - Secretary, Vilma Arauz -  Vocal, Marcia Velasquez - Treasure, Guadalupe Lopez,  Elizabeth Alvarado, Olga Foseca  - Vocals.

Sometimes people wonder, how does the Learning Center program really make a difference? 

In 2011, Petonila shared her comments with us:

I started in the Learning Center Program in 1991 at the Cedros community taking sewing courses, knitting and embroidery, in 2000, at the same center was given a course of embroidery machine with which I began to form part of the Chica Nica project, today I am president of the committee. 

Four years ago I participated in the VOICE Project, in which I was trained on leadership and self-esteem. At this time we were encouraged by Mrs. Sherin Bowen to get train and be successful.  Last year I started getting economical support from the Learning Center Project to start my studies in a three –year technical carrier on handcraft teaching. In addition, this year I started to study for to get my high school diploma.

I have been teaching smocking at the office for 2 years.   Last year five women of my class received their diploma and hopefully I will have more women learn what I know by the end of 201since I have already started with the teaching.

I appreciate all the support Wisconsin/Nicaragua has given me and I am always willing to work and help according to my capabilities.   PETRONILA SOLIS BLANCO

Two years later, in 2013, we learn that Petronila has been successfully admitted at the very prestigious National University, passing the admission test.

“One comment I would like to add somewhere or to point out is that Petronila Solis is a very real example of how Sherin Bowen´s (www.sherinbowen.com) inspiration to empower women is flourishing.  

Well, Petronila, through the LC program, and as one of the oldest and best examples of volunteerism, got registered at two different national programs. One in where she would get the handcraft teacher certificate, and the other her high school diploma.

Successfully, she graduated from high school in November 2012, which will lead her get the first goal at the end of the year 2013.

Finally, she challenged herself to take the admission test to enter the National University to move on her last goal, a College degree in English Education.”  - Isabel

Our immense gratitude goes out to all who are helping to keep the Learning Center program alive, it is making a significant positive difference in the lives of many Nicaraguan women and we invite you to continue your support today. 

Petronila receiving her high school diploma
Petronila receiving her high school diploma
Petronila - reaching her goals
Petronila - reaching her goals
Petronila - preparing for Learning Center classes
Petronila - preparing for Learning Center classes
Nov 30, 2012

Site visit reports and LC meeting results

Learning how to clean and oil machines
Learning how to clean and oil machines

In seeking how to provide better assistance to the WNP Learning Center network, site visits have been included as part of the program.  We are looking at not only what needs the Learning Centers have, but also how they are working, what activities and classes they are carrying out and how they are able to budget this into their annual
expenses.

Volunteerism is the key to the Learning Centers Coordinators success and during these visits it was amazing to observe how the local coordinators have kept their projects going.  Please see pdf file attachment for illustrative photos and details about the Learning Center site visits.

November 24th marked the last Learning Center meeting for 2012. 29 Learning Centers were represented at the Managua Office event with over 70 people in attendance and the meeting was dedicated to W/NP Volunteer and Wisconsin Learning Center Coordinator, Lynda Pracht. Certificates of completion were given to Learning Center course participants, the best teacher and student from the LC classes at the Managua Office were recognized, both being from the Knitting class, Suyen, LC Committee President gave words of gratitude on behalf of the LC committee for all the support from the LC network to the LC committee, gifts were given to each LC Coordinators represented at this event, Socorro Torrez Casa de La Mujer in Ocotal shared her experience how she has been able to carry out her program and classes as LC coordinator in Ocotal, and the meeting concluded with a funds raising activity (raffle of a sewing machine) and words of closing by Mirna Angulo.

Your support to the Learning Center Program has been vital to the growth and development we have seen this year, thank you!

Jewelry workshop in Somoto
Jewelry workshop in Somoto
Sewing machines at the preschool
Sewing machines at the preschool
Altagracia traveled 6 hrs to attend
Altagracia traveled 6 hrs to attend

Attachments:
 
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