Sustainable development through meaningful partnerships.
Juntos traveled to Rosa Grande this past May and it was without a doubt one of the most beautiful experiences our members have experienced. Rosa Grande has extremely collaborative, resourceful, and ambitious community members. Bridges to Community, the nonprofit we travel through, must be proud to partner with them, because we are.
In Nicaragua we had the Art, Education, and Cacao initiatives host workshops. Juntos members worked on developing content for these community projects in collaboration with Bridges to Community, who serve as or liaison to the Rosa Grande community. The Art Initiative created a series of workshops to schoolchildren. The children and adults in the community were very excited about this initiative.
We were welcomed to the school with a beautiful series of drawings the students made that showcased aspects about their community they wanted to improve upon and as well the way they envisioned their community in the future. This was perfect (we actually originally scheduled one of our workshops around this idea) because we ended up painting a mural at the school upon the community’s request. We were so happy that the students and teachers organized a drawing project and presented it to us on our arrival, because it really demonstrated how our workshops are having an impact and how much the community values the children’s amazing art.
On the third day of the Art Initiative’s workshops, the students were asked to describe their favorite parts of their community, and imagine things they would like to improve. Students spoke about how much they loved the river that cuts through the community, but that it was choked with garbage as an example of something they loved but wanted to improve and preserve.
We had the children decide what would be in the mural. After a few sketches on the board and approval from the schoolchildren, our members quickly went to work putting the student’s ideas on the walls of their school.
Completing the mural in essentially four days was extremely difficult (thanks torrential downpours!) but we are extremely proud of because it represents the collaborative manner we approach our work in Rosa Grande. It made the entire community happy as well, and for that we are so grateful.
The Education Initiative prepared and hosted a series of Microsoft Excel and Word workshops for schoolteachers. The teachers have had laptops at the tech center adjacent to the school for several years, but many have been unable to tap into this technology because they are unfamiliar with how to navigate the devices. And so per their request, we hosted three workshops that in the end served for as a way of getting them familiar some basic functions of operating a computer, while for others, we were able to answer questions regarding more advanced aspects of computers.
The Cacao Initiative prepared a Balance Sheet and Income Statement templates to provide a the small chocolate factory in the community (ChocoTrim) with resources to keep their finances as organized as possible. ChocoTrim collaborates with lots of NGOs and nonprofits from all over the world, such as OxFam. They asked Juntos to assist them with the more administrative side of their business because they did not have as much experience. One of our members also sat down on a one-on-one workshop session to ensure one of the younger members of the chocolate factory felt comfortable navigating the templates on Excel.
Every year, Bridges To Community (BTC) organizes construction projects as opportunities for service groups to assist in local development projects including environmentally friendly stoves and outdoor latrines. Our construction projects were tiresome, but very enriching. The intensive labor was a slap in the face those of us who thought we were “in shape”.
Finally, BTC reaches out to families in the neighborhod, who kindly host us during the mornings. While one group works on construction projects, another spends time with a family baking and cooking amazing foods including Buñuelos (fried dough pastries) and cheese. Kitchen exchanges are probably every members favorite moments of the day, as we get to spend so much time, talking, laughing, playing, and sharing our lives and stories.