Colegio Cristiano El Padul graduated its first class in December of 2008, filled with students who had started out as kindergarteners at Jardin Infatil y Comedor Belem 12 years earlier. Of that first graduating class, three students had the academic qualifications, the motivation, and the courage to pursue studies at university. Though a university education costs only a fraction of what it costs in the United States, none of the students at the little school in Managua could even dream of going to university without financial support. Their families can barely make ends meet as it is, much less fund a university education. With the average salary of a full time worker in Managua at under $2,000 per year, no money is left over for luxuries. Poverty is the expectation. The future is not bright.
Learning of the dream the three students from El Padul had to attend university, the Norteamericanos, who had been visiting the school every summer for the past six years, decided to take up the challenge of funding university educations. In the winter of 2009, three families from California and Florida sent checks of between $450 and $1,000 to cover the cost of tuition, materials, fees, and travel expenses for these three young Nicaraguans.
The Nicaragua College Fund has been formed to handle the increased number of graduates wanting to continue their studies at universities, as well as the increased number of individuals, families, and organizations that are committed to help. The mission of the Nicaragua College Fund is to give well-qualified and motivated Nicaraguan students access to a university education, with the goals of improving their standard of living and creating leaders to help break the cycle of poverty within their communities.
Much of Managua is caught in a vicious cycle of poverty and depression. With no hope for improvement, many of the citizens turn to gangs and drugs, which tear their families apart, and destroy lives of those around them. Education can provide them with hope. It gives them an opportunity to succeed. It gives them an opportunity to raise their own families properly. It gives them an opportunity to transform their communities for the better. We can give them that opportunity.