With the aid of the Salisbury Summer Internship Stipend, Rosie Schiebel ’12 is spending her summer working with the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) in Tola, Nicaragua. Along with training secondary school teachers at the Centro Escolar Nuestra Senora de Guadlaupe in English language and computer programs, Schiebel is working to create a more engaging educational experience for the children of Tola.
Before beginning her time abroad Schiebel had a general idea of what she hoped to accomplish. “The program director in Tola has suggested I focus on creating a project that incorporates the school children in community development initiatives as well as create a sports team or clinic in order to engage students in afterschool sporting events,” she said.
After conducting interviews with students, teachers, administrators and staff, and meeting with fellow FSD workers and the school director, Schiebel determined that a recreation center would be the most beneficial to the community. Schiebel posted on her blog that the two primary goals of the center are: “(1) an increased sense of community within the school and among teachers, students, and parents, and (2) the expansion of teaching materials and independent learning opportunities.”
At the school, there are 21 teachers for more than 500 students, and learning time is split into two blocks, allowing each child to receive four hours of class time per day. When they are not in school, the recreation center will allow them a place to do homework, and have purposeful play.
The school was able to provide an unused room for the center, which Schiebel and the students began fixing up as soon as the director handed her the key. They have already cleaned out the space and painted murals on the walls, including a map of Central America, a jungle scene, a nutrition pyramid, a solar system and the growth process of a plant, but the center is still in need of donations to cover the expenses of additional construction materials and recreational supplies.
In order to sustain the center once it is completed Schiebel plans to create a “huerto escolar,” or a school garden, so that children can grow produce to sell to pay for future maintenance.
Through the FSD, Schiebel has created an online fundraising campaign to fund the recreation center. So far the project has $700 of the $1,500 needed to make the center a reality for the children of Tola.
If you would like to make a donation towards the creation of the recreation center please visit:
Helping others has long been a passion for Schiebel, who is a co-coordinator of Geneva Heroes, a volunteer for America Reads, and studied abroad in Montevideo, Urguway building houses for the impoverished, as well as in Seoul, South Korea where she was a women’s lacrosse coach and English tutor.
Schiebel hopes this internship with the Foundation of Sustainable Development will be a stepping stone on her path towards the Peace Corps and a career in Latin American Development and NGO work.