Rio Negro Primary School Completed on October 14, 2011!
Rio Negro's Two Teachers
Rio Negro Community Profile
Rio Negro is a small community of 115 families located in the department of Matagalpa. This community was founded in 1956 and is 170 km from the capital, Managua. The current elected leaders of the community are Noel Picado and Jose Enrique Cruz Oliva. The people of Rio Negro are primarily farmers who grow coffee, bananas, oranges, sweet potatoes and other crops. They don’t have electricity or running water. The community is divided by a river (also called Rio Negro) and built into the side of one of northern Nicaragua’s beautiful mountains. The climate is significantly cooler there than on the coast and in the capital. The closest medical clinic is 36 km away.
Rio Negro has had formal education since 1994. There was no school building in Rio Negro prior to this project. Classes were held in two other structures temporarily on loan to the teachers while the community searched for a way to provide a better learning environment. There are currently 121 students (61 girls and 60 boys) studying with 3 teachers in preschool through grade 6 in Rio Negro.
This project was the first school which was funded by money raised by the Sage Ridge School from Reno Nevada. This is a high school club started by Corrinne Lowe who heard about Opportunity for All at a dinner party. She liked the idea so much she decided to start a club at her school to raise the money - a daunting task for a group of high school students. It was tough sledding at first, but soon the entire Sage Community embraced the project. The Sage Ridge club has now raised money for a school four years in a row and show no sign of slowing down!
Signing the Covenant and Building the School
Before starting construction they gathered local materials for the project and spent several days excavating a hillside to prepare a flat area for the foundation. On the day before beginning the foundation the entire community met with buildOn staff and a visiting delegation from Sage Ridge School in Nevada to sign a covenant outlining the following responsibilities:
• Unskilled labor: 12 workers (6 women and 6 men) per day, six days per week
• Commitment to educating girls and boys equally
• The land on which the school is built
• High quality local materials: sand, gravel, water & rocks
• Volunteer management committee made up of 12 villagers (six women, six men)
• Lodging for buildOn Field Coordinator and skilled laborers in local homes
• Basic construction tools (picks, wheelbarrows, buckets, etc.) when available
Opportunity For All & buildOn Contribution
• Engineering and architecture
• Construction materials (excluding local materials) for school and latrine
• Skilled labor and plans needed to build the school
• Project management (buildOn coordinators)
• Instruction in basic construction techniques
“There has already been an increase in children at school- the community members are more motivated to send their children to school now. It’s a huge development for the community and we now have a better, safe place to teach. Now we can even ask for a high school teacher who could come on the weekends to teach!”
-- Nerys del Carmen Briones Soze, age 39, teacher --
“Because of this project I learned skills like how to tie rebar and how to make a concrete floor. I also learned that if we work together we can bring more development to our community. It is so important to live in a very organized community.”
-- Tereza Orozco Valdonado, age 50 --
“Thanks for the school that you gave us! We’ll study very hard to be professionals and find good jobs so we can keep helping our community!”
-- Henry Antonio Martinez, age 12 --