BLINC Education work in Bristol

2012 has seen a range of Global Education work in schools supported by BLINC including the successful Fairtrade Producer Sandra Rojas’ visit. Sandra worked in many local schools and “impacted on” over 2,000 local pupils and students. Sefton Park Primary did a Water in Nicaragua project and devised lots of fundraising ideas as well which not only resulted in them learning about access to drinking water and latrines but also saw their funds used by BLINC to build a well and latrine for under fives in Puerto Morazan. Ashton Gate primary again used Nicaragua and Puerto Morazan in their year four Geography curriculum. Even the Copa Sandino had an educational element where each team took part in a quiz to win beer and at the same time learnt about rural incomes, access to safe drinking water and other issues in Nicaragua.

Cotham secondary school sent a group of sixth formers plus teachers to Nicaragua this summer to visit the country and to spend a few days in Puerto Morazan working with local school students on an organic school garden.

Andy Lillford, English teacher at Cotham reports : ”

When Cotham’s team of Josh Brackston, Lily Drewry, Anna Parker, Kim Taylor, Jack Williams, Mel Daum, Charlie Fyffe Williams, Nancy Griffiths, Jess de Salis, Lucy Wilson and Andy Lillford set out from Heathrow on July 28th, none of us quite know what to expect. We knew we’d meet with four other girls from the Banbury boarding school, Tudor Hall, their teacher Paul Carine and our World Challenge leader Gemma Prescott. We knew that we had a month of travel, projects and trekking ahead of us, but not that we’d make Costa Rican national TV and newspaper coverage, or that we’d find out quite so much about ourselves. It certainly proved to be a month none of us will forget in a hurry. 

The first stop on the expedition was the paradise of Ometepe, a volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, where the team did two short treks, one on each of the island’s volcanoes. There we saw howler and capuchin monkeys, exotic birds and huge insects, swam in the lake and waterfalls and went to a local rodeo where along with the bull riders, we ended up as the main attraction. 

Next stop was Instituto Teodoro Kint in Tonala, Puerto Morazan in Northwest Nicaragua. I’d been there, our partner school, on two occasions to do some teaching, but going with students, who gave lessons in PE, music and English, took things to a whole new level. The enthusiasm of us as visitors and our Nicaraguan hosts was a real highlight of the whole trip. Kim and Lucy’s Spanish was put to the test as they acted as the team’s translators, I had the bizarre experience of teaching Hamlet in very limited Spanish, Josh, Charlie, Nancy, Jess, Anna and Kim got to grips with machetes, Jack took charge of finances, Lily and Mel led the singing and all of us (especially Lucy) forged friendships we’ll never forget. We helped establish a market garden, macheted our way through unwanted weeds and into very welcome coconut milk and nearly ended up staying a whole lot longer, as our ancient schoolbus transport out of there grounded itself in the washed-out stream bed just outside the town”. The group then moved on to Costa Rica for more trekking.

The Montessori school in Clifton has raised hundreds of pounds to fund teaching materials for three pre-schools in Puerto Morazan. One of their colleagues is also heading to Puerto Morazan this summer to undertake some teacher training workshops. If you want to see the Montessori training in action in Puerto Morazan go to :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKlY6Z1pDmY

Two BLINC volunteers teachers were in Puerto Morazan for a ten days over the summer evaluating our ongoing educational work and monitoring some of our schools projects.

Ashton Gate primary school has put up a large poster reflecting their work on Nicaragua in Georgraphy in Year 4. The pupils were very excited to receive visits from the executive mayor of Puerto Morazan and this inspired them in their work.

A Knowle West primary school held a Nicaragua week organised by teacher Amy Crean. BLINC resources were used as the children undertook Nica recipes, stories and making a volcano in science.

Cotham secondary organised a whole saturday school fiesta dedicated to Nicaragua in June with hundreds of parents and students took part. Some of the funds raised will go towards the visit this summer.

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