Enlace Project is extremely lucky to have partners in the U.S. that go above and beyond in their fundraising (and cooking) efforts. This September, both Avon for Nicaragua and Enlace Project Geneseo (EPG) worked to raise money for school constructions in the communities around El Sauce, Nicaragua. The school construction projects, part of Enlace Project's community development services, have occurred once per year in the past; however, with the expanded efforts of Enlace Project's partners, 2014 is the first year that two schools have been built.
Avon for Nicaragua's Spaghetti Dinner, held on September 26 at the local high school cafeteria, brought together members of the group and community to celebrate the value of education. Many volunteers had traveled to Nicaragua on a trip in February 2014 in order to see their funds in action; the group helped local construction workers and the Enlace Project team as they built the school up from the ground in Buena Vista. The group reflected fondly on the experience, gaining appreciation for education and Nicaraguan culture.
The group, with old and new members, plans to return in February 2015 for another construction, and possibly again for the second later that same year. In addition to the Spaghetti Dinner, Avon for Nicaragua hosted a raffle and has talked with the local rotary club about the school construction, all of which have proven effective for fundraising and increasing support of the construction project.
Enlace Project Geneseo has also grown in size and enthusiasm, as the club became officially recognized on the SUNY Geneseo campus this year. New members, many of whom participated in Enlace Project's study abroad trips during the summer of 2014, joined the club's founding members to host a traditional Nicaraguan dinner at the Interfaith Center on September 28 with the help of Juan Mairena, Enlace Project's Academic and Volunteer Trip Coordinator. Geneseo Professor Glenn McClure was also essential in planning the menu for the evening.
The Geneseo club decided to raise money for Enlace Project's school construction in San Cayetano, which is currently underway. EPG also sold baskets from Fuente de Pino, spreading the word about the women's cooperative and life in El Sauce. Last year, the club also helped to bring coffee from the Manuel López cooperative to campus, and are now looking to other projects for the upcoming year.
Between the two fundraisers, the groups raised over $1,500 towards the school constructions, which will help children in rural communities be able to attend schools without walking several miles to other communities' schools. The school construction program works with the El Sauce mayor's office and members of the communities to make the project as effective as possible.