Destinations Updates: San Juan Del Sur

Editors Note: As Random Acts supporters, you have helped us change the lives of so many folks around the world. We want to keep you posted on how some of our larger projects continue to thrive. Each month, our Destinations Manager Rea Niessen will be sharing with us some updates. Read on for the latest from the Free High School in Nicaragua!

Students in class.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw a little notification on social media that our most recent trip to San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, happened exactly two years ago. In February 2018, our team traveled to Nicaragua to attend the grand opening of the campus we built to give to our vision of the Free High School, the “Instituto Libre Para Adultos”.

I remember how the two buildings were filled with excitement and enthusiasm for education by the students. Experiencing in person how much this all meant to them and how big the impact we made on their lives was mind blowing! We could not have done that without all you wonderful supporters! Therefore, I would love to share with you some updates on the school, its staff, and students.

In 2018-19, Nicaragua was a place of heavy political unrest, and it affected the whole country. This included the area around Managua and down to San Juan del Sur. We were glad as we heard that the school continued to function. Classes were still happening, even though there were less students attending. This is credited to the strong dedication shared by our students and teachers. We are more than relieved to hear that the critical situation has started to calm down again!

The daycare center for children of students!

The school was running. The campus was open. But we did not stop dreaming. From the start of this project, we wanted to add a daycare to the campus. Many of the students are young mothers who have to bring their kids to school. I think we all can imagine how this could make studying much more challenging. We were more than grateful as Stands jumped in to help along with Co-Founder Misha Collins, and Random Acts supporters Jared Padalecki, and Jensen Ackles.

Together, they raised the needed money through raffling off a signed script from the TV show Supernatural. Thanks to the generosity of our amazing supporters, we were able to add a beautiful daycare to the campus. This offers support to young mothers and gives them the chance to concentrate on their studies and build a better life. Ultimately, it helps not just them but their children, too!

Children playing in the daycare center.

Here is a quick update on graduates. Since 2002, the school has taught the most excluded people in San Juan del Sur, including women with children, pregnant women, and anyone over the age of 18. This last December, 63 new graduates joined the 1080 that have successfully completed their education at this high school. This is again, thanks to all of you who have supported us!

Most recently, the school was in desperate need of a new bus, as many students live in rural communities. In earlier days, they walked for hours to school and back home, and often they had to miss out on several classes. To help, our good friend Stands sold little school bus charms with all the proceeds going towards the new bus. With your support, we were able to raise the needed money! Bus shopping is going on. I am sure we will have more news here soon!

The newest graduates!

We are looking into the future with optimism! And I wish you all to know that this would not be possible without you! The Free High School and its students would still not have a permanent home, a place giving actual education, without so many of you supporting this important cause since we first introduced it to you in 2015. You made this big change happen. You help students to live a life they choose, instead of one they must accept. I hope you feel how big the impact is that you make! Thank you!

Stay tuned for more updates in the next few months!