Eco-built center for disabled children

Since 2014 La Mariposa has supported a chapter of Los Pipitos national organization is San Juan de la Concepcion. Paulette was asked for help when the center was robbed of nearly everything. Since then La Mariposa has paid for the renovation of classrooms, infrastructure improvements, the salaries of a physical therapy and special educations teachers, and much, much more!  La Mariposa guests have also donated dozen upon dozens of craft supplies and school materials.

Last year we were introduced to PeaceWorks at La Mariposa. PeaceWorks supports Nicaraguan grassroots community organizations in their efforts to overcome a history of poverty, violence against women and environmental destruction. They have generously outfitted the center with a multitude of educational and reactional toys. Some of the donations included helmets for equine-therapy, swimming floaties for hyrdrotherapy, building blocks and flash cards for classroom activities “y mas”!

Recently PeaceWorks rewarded Asociacion Tierra with $8K grant to continue programmatic operations and to help improve the conditions of the center for children with disabilites of San Juan de la Concepcion. We are absolutely thrilled and thankful for PeaceWorks support.

What’s next?

We will use half of the grant for a mixture of programmatic activities. The first is to use a portion to help pay for the salaries of special education teachers and a physical therapist. Having fulltime staff means these children can continue benefiting from daily activities such as riding horses, building blocks, learning colors and shapes, and participating in our family therapy and anti-bullying programs. Los Pipitos national organization has offered our staff free continuing education courses and free medical appointments for the children. We will also use a bit for transporting them to and from Los Pipitos and Las Mascotas Children’s Hospital. With the remaining portion we would like to buy basic necessitates for the children and more therapy equipment, such as the NeuroSuit®. This suit helps create new pathways to and from the brain, allowing for improved motor skills to be formed and provides dynamic correction of movements, and reinforcing proper movement during skills such as walking.

Every year La Mariposa hosts a Christmas party dedicated to the children with disabilities of San Juan de la Concepcion. Each child receives two gifts: one basic necessity (such as shoes, crutches, glasses, etc.) and a toy. Our aim is to help children with disabilities lead a normal life. For example, Francisca Alejandra (age 15) receives physical therapy and hydrotherapy to help ease the pain of her rheumatoid arthritis (photo: below left). In 2015, she wanted to enroll in school. Thanks to a $100 donation from La Mariposa student, Francisca entered gleefully into the 3rd grade this year. Every morning she received one-to-one tutoring from Jorge, the librarian at Panama primary school whom which receives a salary from La Mariposa (photo: below right).

We want use a portion of this grant to employ teens with disabilities that participate in our program and improve the conditions of the center. Starting this rainy season we will prepare garden beds to plant organic vegetables, fruits and pollinator friendly flowers. We want to give jobs to teens with disabilities that attend our center. For example, Maribel (age 40, photo: bottom left) and her daughter Estrella (age 15, photo: bottom, right) are always found at the center helping out the teachers and participating in the fun and games. We want to give Maribel, who is also mentally disabled, and Estrella paid jobs to work in our gardens. Marlon and Beto, the garden managers at La Reserva and La Finca, will train and work closely with them and other teens with disabilities from our center. We would like to dedicate a bit to jump start this program, such as buying gardening tools and supplies for the teens. The gardener’s salaries will be covered by La Mariposa.

The Eco-Center

Thanks to PeaceWorks, we starting to build and dedicate a center for the children with disabilities of San Juan de la Conception at La Reserva. We want to build a large classroom and a physical therapy room made out of eco-friendly materials. The building will have large bay windows, adobe round walls, palm thatched roof, and foundation made of used tires, volcanic rock and bamboo (photos below). Outside will be a welcoming play area where a child can take a scroll in her wheelchair around the gardens that Maribel will be working in or even practice walking next to our many old growth mango and ceiba trees. We are estimating $20,000 for the construction of this building. We would half of this grants towards building a permanent place for the children with disabilities of San Juan de la Concepcion.

 

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