The ongoing pandemic continues to disrupt the regular university programming for our students. All classes have shifted online and this has presented a serious challenge for many of our students who live in rural areas. Internet access can be expensive and slow and even having access to a computer can be a challenge. In saying this, the majority of our students have been able to work through these issues and continue their studies but two students have chosen to defer their courses until next year. While dissapointing for them as they were supposed to graduate this December we understand the reasoning and have agreeed to defer these scholarships as well. We do continue to support 10 students monthly and look forward to seeing many of them graduate this winter. Our scholarship students are also receiving suport from our COVID 19 support program. This support includes regular delivery of basic food and health provisions for them and their families. 2020 continues to be a challenge for so many around the world but we are very proud of our students as they continue to work through these challenges as best they can.
It has been a while since our last update so this one is a bit longer than usual.
In late January we met with all of our students and received year-end grades and updates. Our students continue to progress and excel. Amazingly many have already entered their fourth and final year of studies - it really does feel like we just started this program but we will be officially graduating our first university graduates this December. I am unable to upload grades on this platform due to privacy concerns but the overall average for the group right now is at 86%, a number we are very proud of.
Unfortunately COVID19 is impacting Nicaragua as it is the rest of the world. Our students are very concerned as the government has yet to take any serious measures to counteract the spread. As I write this many schools and universities remain open. Depsite this, most of our students are not attending due to fear of catchig the virus and bringing it home. Thankfully their professors are understanding and most have been given persmission to study from home for now. This situation is evolving and so we continue to monitor this.
We are also pleased to report that we do have funding in place to support our students with full scholarships again of $40 USD a month this year, at least for the first few months. We are hoping funding continues to come in for the remainder of the year.
Our students continue to excel in their studies. Most are prepping for their exams these days as the school year is starting to wind down. Unfortunately our funding has been limited this year due to the lack of tourism so we are only able to provide half scholarships for now but we are hoping for this to improve over the winter. To try to offset this reduction we have offered many of our students part time employment at Coco Loco. Many of them are studying tourism as well so we see this as a great way to support their studies - similar to a paid internship.
We have included a video link that features many of our scholarship students helping us with a school project last winter and also discussing their scholarships and dreams. We hope you enjoy it!
Our students continue to excel in their studies. We are just past the halfway part of the school year (classes run from late February to December). This year has been a much more positive experience for our students as last year they had to deal with a lot of stress and safety concerns due to the anti-government protests. While the protests do continue, and often occur on university campuses, our students have all assured us that they are focused on their studies and avoiding any areas where protests occur. We are very proud of their dedication and ongoing commitment to their studies.
I have included some grade reports for a few students, in which you will see very strong grades. Students are required to maintain a minimum average of 75%.
We have also received word from the film company that helped us with a school build in January that the short film will soon be available so we will include this link in the next report. Our scholarship students played a key role in helping rebuild the San Luis school!
Our scholarship students are back in full study mode after a brief break during the month of February. We have had to cut scholarships to 50% of the monthly value due to a lack of general funding with Waves of Hope due to the political crisis and how it has affected tourism. Despite these challenges, all but one of our 21 students are continuing on with their studies. We lost one student because her family was really struggling due to the lack of tourism and so she is seeking full time work instead of returning to school for now. So while we still continue to struggle our way through the new reality in Nicaragua, for the most part our students are doing great and are very grateful for the support.
We also started a new school year at our high school and plan to have 40+ graduating students this year, many of whom are eager to carry on studying next year at the university level. We are seeking new donors every day and have some hopeful conversations underway.
Our scholarship students also provided great support during a recent 'Ocean Safety' program we ran locally.
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