Nicaragua: sponsored child Maryel gains the confidence to read

By Elena Paleo, Nicaragua Portfolio Advisor

By sponsoring a child in Nicaragua, you are helping children from impoverished families have greater opportunities to overcome poverty. As Portfolio Advisor for Nicaragua at World Vision Australia, I would like to share with you Maryel’s story. Like your sponsored child, she is an example of how you are changing lives through Child Sponsorship.

Maryel is a 10-year-old girl living in a small community outside Managua, the capital city. During her first years at school she struggled to read and write, and this had an impact on her school performance. Her parents, Miguel and Jasmina, worried about her. Despite their scarce resources, her father bought her some books to see if she could improve. But she continued to have difficulties.

Thanks to child sponsors like you, World Vision has been working with community members, local partners and authorities to improve the wellbeing of children. One of the projects we have been implementing in collaboration with local schools and the Ministry of Education is an initiative aiming to improve reading and comprehension skills of children living in impoverished communities, such as Maryel’s.

The initiative provides schools with reading materials and helps school teachers learn methodologies which encourage and improve students’ reading abilities, such as “I read, comment, imagine and create”; “By playing, talking and drawing, we learn to read”; and “Venturing into the pleasure of reading”.

These are child-friendly methodologies which strengthen children’s pronunciation and word recognition. They also build vocabulary and reading comprehension. They use creative, playful and interactive techniques, such as drawing, group discussions and storytelling. Children overcome their limitations and fear to read progressively and become more confident and interested in reading.

Recently, an Early Grade Reading Assessment test was administered to 64 students of second and third grades from six schools to assess the impact of the initiative. Twenty-five students reached a satisfactory reading and comprehension level. This is very encouraging because it shows that with greater support, children can improve their reading and comprehension skills, and subsequently improve school performance. In addition, the fact that parents, schools and education authorities have been actively involved in the implementation of this initiative, increases the likelihood of continuing their implementation in the future and expanding them to other schools.

The most encouraging thing is to see children, such as Maryel, transform themselves. Maryel improved her reading and comprehension skills progressively and gained the confidence she needed to read more. She started visiting the school library regularly and never missed a reading session. She became more eloquent and expressive. Her teacher noticed her remarkable improvement.

Maryel recently mentioned, “Now I can read correctly. I am able to understand textbooks and when I write a story I do it in a creative way and with a lot of imagination. Sometimes my teacher congratulates me because I have improved my grades in the Spanish Literature class. I’ve got 90 out of 100”.

Through the same project, World Vision has also provided school supplies to 101 children from very poor backgrounds living in these communities, as it is not easy for the poorest families to buy books, notebooks and pencils when they struggle to survive.

Nicaragua, in Central America, is the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti. It is estimated that 42 percent of the population live below the poverty line, and 15 percent live in extreme poverty.

Thanks to supporters like you, World Vision is able to implement projects to help give children a better chance to succeed at school and break the poverty barrier. You are actually not only helping a child, you are helping a community. Thank you for your support.