December. The month brings to mind holidays and colder weather here in the U.S., but in Nicaragua, December is time to celebrate the graduation of high school students.
This year, 116 students earned high school degrees in the face of disparaging adversity. Often, Rainbow scholarship students are the first generation of high school graduates from their families, or even from their entire villages.
Meet the Graduates
Rolando is 20 and lives with his Aunts, Uncles, and 3 little cousins on his grandparents’ small farm in La Trinidad. He helps plant corn, cut firewood to sell, tend the animals, and draw water from the well. His family would not be able to afford his schooling without Rainbow, but he studied hard to earn his degree and now plans to be a teacher and improve the futures of young people in La Trinidad.
Rosa is 17 and lives in the small agricultural community of Cabo de Horno. Her father works hard doing seasonal farm labor to provide for his wife and 4 children, but the family still cannot afford school. With Rainbow’s help, she graduated a year early and hopes to go on to technical school. “Education is very important to me because I want to have a better future and improve the living conditions of my family. Education is the best way to help our families and our communities to live better in the future.”
There isn’t room to tell every student’s story, but the other 113 graduates are listed here by village in the 2011 Rainbow Network “Honor Roll” of graduates. (PDF file)
As the U.S. office assigns new students to sponsors whose student graduated, a sobering truth is clear; along with the list of 116 graduates to be removed from the scholarship program came another list of 28 students dropping out of the program.
Poverty is often described as a cycle, and rightly so, as it is so difficult to stop it in its tracks. Some students leave school to work and supplement the incomes of their struggling families, or are too overwhelmed with adult responsibilities at a young age to continue their studies. But Rainbow Network is reversing negative trends in rural education, and we are here to stay.
The success of these graduating students is a product of years of hard work and support from the families and staff in Nicaragua and sponsors in the U.S. Their education is a step toward hope; the leadership skills, sense of self-worth, and economic stability these graduates are developing are the key to one day erasing poverty in Nicaragua.
Join us in celebrating this hope for the future of Nicaragua by providing an un-sponsored high school student with a scholarship of $25 a month ($300 per year) to cover the cost of tuition, uniforms, transportation, and supplies. You can sign up online through Paypal here, or by calling our office at 417-889-8088.