David - preschool student at Colegio Verbo Veracru
Great news! As you know, thanks to your generous support we were able to replace the playground and renovate the bathrooms at Verbo's pre-K - 11 grade school in Veracruz last fall. The staff was so encouraged by your giving; it's not common for indigenous workers in third world countries to see a project that they recommend get funded and completed so quickly. They were motivated to canvas the community and encourage more local families to enroll their students. The 2011 school year got underway in mid-February with 42 NEW STUDENTS!! That's a remarkable jump - from 152 to 194 students for this new year. Some of the new students include kiddos like David and Rishi, who are both very happy to be at school instead of having to stay at home or work like so many other Nicaraguan kids their age.
As the song goes, we've only just begun! The school is still operating at only 72% of their operating budget. The good news is that's up from having only 50% of their operating budget last year. The bad news is that's still a 28% deficit the school administration has to deal with. Right now they're managing cashflow as best as possible to work around the gap (i.e. delaying staff paychecks, doing without needed equipment, etc.). But in order to enroll more impoverished students they are going to need long-term, stable funding. We're getting ready to roll out a new "Project Destino" student scholarship program whereby Nicaraguan parents pledge the amount they can afford toward tuition and then are matched up with American donors who pledge to make up the difference. The result will be a school operating at 100% of their operating budget...and, more importantly, more children getting an education and hopefully breaking out of the cycle of poverty into which they were born.
For now celebrate with us that as a DIRECT RESULT of your giving MORE KIDS in a very poor THIRD-WORLD community are GOING TO SCHOOL!! Does it get any better than this?!
Your VNDF Partners
Rishi - another preschool student at Colegio Verbo
Colegio Verbo teachers for the 2011 school year