Out of the Streets and Into Education: Giving Kids a Childhood

IMG_6239 (2014_08_13 18_50_20 UTC)What Does Change Really Mean for the Children of Pantanal?

Nicaragua has the lowest net secondary school enrollment rate in Central America (43%) and the highest primary school dropout rate in Central America (50%). In Pantanal, which is extremely poor even by Nicaraguan standards, the graduation rate from elementary school is closer to 3 in 10.

While primary and secondary school education in Nicaragua is technically free, the Nicaraguan government spends barely over 3% of its GDP on education, and the quality of public education is substandard, to say the least.

Also due to poverty, Nicaragua has the highest child labor rate in Central America (11% of all children between ages 10 – 14), and is one of 13 countries in the world where coffee is produced by child or forced labor.

Education is key to breaking this cycle of poverty, but under these conditions, where do we start?

  1. Proper nutrition through balanced meals daily gives the child energy to study and focus in class, and keeps them from begging in the streets.
  2. Basic school supplies facilitate daily school attendance.  A pencil and notebook will allow the child to take notes and complete their homework.
  3. A uniform allows the child to start school at the beginning of the year.
  4. Learning English at Education Plus allows a child to obtain a skill that alone opens up a wealth of opportunities in tourism, teaching, and other middle class industries.  There is no more valuable skill for a young person to have in Nicaragua.
  5. Supplementary tutoring, such as we provide in our after-school program, allows the child to fill knowledge gaps that are a result of the poor quality of education in the public school system, improving their grades and allowing them to pass university entrance exams.
  6. Fun activities and rewards for hard work, all that make kids want to attend school!

Education Plus Nicaragua implements ALL of the above solutions.  Our goal is to give children real childhoods, the kind that come from learning and playing. You can read more about our developmental activities HERE.



Our “Zebras” class with the school supplies they earned through excellent attendance!