The Nicaragua initiative began in 2009 when Sofia Essayan-Perez, a then grade 9 student, proposed that The Study adopt a sister school called the Diria Institute in a rural village in Diria, Nicaragua. Since then, our project has expanded to include 3 key elements: a scholarship program, a community service trip and annual school improvements. Along the way, this initiative has been awarded the Moulton Student Global Citizenship Grant and the Sparkfun Community Partnership grant.
We offer a full scholarship to a graduating female student of the Diria Institute to go to university. The scholarship is for $5000 US and covers their 5-year undergraduate degree including tuition, transportation, books and lunches. Students at The Study are responsible to raise the funds needed to send these girls to school and to choose the recipient of the yearly scholarship award. A qualitative and quantitative approach is taken on 3 categories: grades, community service and degree of poverty. The applicants submit a written application and answer specific questions, which are then read by the student selection committee. We are very proud to say that since the inception of the scholarship program, we have had 15 graduates. Currently we have 12 students that we are sponsoring.
Community Service Trip
Our community service trip currently runs every two years. We traditionally bring 18 students and 4 teachers from The Study to our sister school. Our students teach at our sister school, meet all our scholarship winners and work in the community. By adopting a school this way, we have been very fortunate to witness the evolution of the school and the positive impact that we have been able to have on the community.
Annual School Upgrades
Each year, we pledge to improve some part of the school. The decision regarding what we will do is established by Study students, based on recommendations/requests that come from faculty and staff at the Diria Institute. Some of our initiatives have included: funding the building of a water tower, providing funds to build and furnish a science lab, providing the school with a class set of books for each subject matter taught, outfitting the school with technology, providing the school with musical instruments, sports equipment and providing the poorest students with shoes so that they can attend to school. In 2018, we established a vocational center whose goal is to teach a vocation to students who cannot otherwise afford a university education.
Coordinator of the Nicaragua Project
Read about the latest news from our partnership with The Diria Institute: