As far as our work with Si A La Vida goes it is a mixture between really exciting and positive and significant concerns.
The team on Ometepe have worked very hard over the past month preparing for the opening of the new Casa Si A La Vida Ometepe. This new direction of Si A La Vida signifies a shift from working within a protective paradigm with boys in a residential setting, to a preventative approach for the children (boys and girls) of Altagracia (Ometepe). This is also happening in Managua. This shift has entailed visiting over 50 families whose children have been identified as being at risk socially, emotionally or educationally. The causes of this risk could be due to circumstances of poverty, violence, or substance abuse. Many families, due to the pressures of poverty, are not able to put as much time and energy in supporting their children’s learning as they would wish. Children are often at home on their own for long periods of time, or they are supplementing the family income by selling fruit and vegetables. There are many single mothers in Altagracia and they too are juggling the economic needs of their families and the need to support the education, emotional and social development of their children. Si A la Vida’s prevention program hopes to address and support families and children in the areas of education, mental health and wellbeing, and cultural engagement.
Yesterday we had our grand opening of Casa Si A La Vida!! We had over 60 children and parents attend. It was a great afternoon. Tomorrow (Monday 31 Augusts) sees the start of our program. We have about 40 children aged 8-16 years on our list. We will wait and see over the first couple of weeks how many attend.
After what seems quite a rocky start to our work here, it was great have a tangible development to celebrate. Casa Si A La Vida is a house that has been rented (thanks to a very generous donation from Australia). The Si A La Vida team are a great group to work with and we are currently planning the timetables and our programs. It is exciting for me to be part of these conversations and feel comfortable enough to share my experience with them.
Mart continues to spend time supporting the team, communicating with donors and trying to strengthen the administration and organisational aspects of the project. He is also assisting with the development of the finca/ farm and we should have the grand opening of the chook house (Hen House for non Australians) in a week or so.
Si A La Vida continues to struggle with ongoing funding. Unfortunately they have missed out on a much-needed grant from a Spanish based organisation and there are reduced funds coming from the States. We will keep working towards sourcing funds to hold us through until the farm can start producing real capital.
On a personal front we are looking forward to sharing our life here with our first visitors from Australia. I am going to return with them in the first week of October and look forward to catching up with family, friends and supporters in Melbourne. If you would like to catch up when I am back, just contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Keep well and good luck with what life offers up.