Dear VNDF Friends and Supporters,
We are deeply grateful for your partnership and generosity in helping us raise more than $9,000 to help fund teachers' salaries and make critically-needed repairs to the Verbo School infrastructure in Veracruz, Nicaragua through the Global Giving spring 2010 Open Challenge. Tim Adams, VNDF Executive Director, went to Veracruz in early June to meet with the Verbo School staff, finalize the contracts for the bathroom repairs, purchase the materials for the new playground equipment, and begin planning for the phase of enrollment and physical capacity expansion.
TEACHER SALARY INCREASE We have been able to send $1,150 each month to the school to increase the teachers' salaries. All of the teachers are significantly underpaid compared to their public school counterparts but stay in their positions at the Verbo School because they believe strongly in the school's mission. However because of a drop-off in funding from a U.S. donor the teachers were facing nearly unlivable salaries going into this school year (which runs Feb - Nov). Several of the older teachers whose experience is particularly valuable to the Verbo administration were considering having to leave. VNDF's pay increase has enabled the school to retain all of the current staff and pay benefits as well. The majority of the Verbo School teachers are working single mothers and sustainble income is critically-important to their families' well-being.
BATHROOM RENOVATION WORK The current bathrooms are virtually unusable and highly unsanitary. Because they are a health hazard several potential students' parents have opted not to enroll their children at the Verbo School. All of the toilets will be removed, plumbing repairs will be made, and the current trough-style sinks will be replaced with individual sink basins.
PLAYGROUND RENOVATION WORK We have contracted with Heberto Ramirez, Verbo's lead construction manager, to head up the playground and bathroom projects. The new equipment will include: a picnic table, slide, swings, monkey bars, climbing rope, and more.
LEVERAGING FUNDING FOR NEW SUPPORT Another exciting update is that our fundraising success prompted the involvement of the U.S.-based nonprofit ORPHANetwork to launch a $20,000 fundraising drive for the Verbo School in Verazcruz to provide new computers, improve the school's electrical and internet service and repair the school's basketball courts.
NEXT STEPS We will post photos of the bathroom and playground renovations as soon as the work is underway sometime in July. In addition we're working on rolling out our "Project Destino" sponsorship program to raise sustained funds for teachers' salaries and school costs. The project will match individuals, organizations and classrooms in the U.S. to teachers and classrooms at the Verbo School. If you're interested in learning more about how you or perhaps your students' school could get involved in supporting the Verbo School please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you an information package.
As Nolvia Morales, the Directora of the Verbo School said "Mil gracias por su interes y apoyo. Dios les bendiga!!!!" (A thousand thank-yous for your interest and help. God bless you!)
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