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Fundacion Aprender


What Aprender Does -  How Aprender Began - Who Supports Aprender

The Fundación Aprender (Learning Foundation) is a non-profit organization committed to providing educational opportunities for the youth of Las Salinas de Nahualapa, in rural Nicaragua.

Our approach is twofold: helping kids attend school and providing educational opportunities outside of school.

In order to help kids attend school, Aprender supplies the necessary items (uniform, shoes, and school supplies) for the children whose families cannot afford these items. Additionally, Aprender counsels families on the importance of their children’s education: because not all parents see the value in education and because parents decide whether a child goes to school or not. 

In order to provide educational opportunities outside of school, Aprender opened the region’s only library: La Biblioteca Los Tres Ernestos The library is open to everybody and offers over 600 titles, encyclopedias, maps, art books, magazines, and more: it’s a comfortable atmosphere and the librarian is always there to lend a hand. In a town where few people have any books, the library is a haven for curious young minds.

Through the library Aprender also runs tutoring programs and various educational and art workshops that range from basic literacy and math to theater, from painting to Tae Kwon Do, from film projects to recycling paper ... and more.

Aprender meets regularly with parents and teachers to stay updated on each student’s learning progress: helping identify which student’s might benefit from tutoring sessions or other types of assistance.

Aprender also works with the school in organizing small groups of students to visit the library for specific research projects. 

How Aprender Began

Aprender was created in December of 2004 by Gabriela Prado and James Womack, when they moved from New York City to a farm in Salinas de Nahualapa, Nicaragua. Upon moving Gabriela (from Buenos Aires, Argentina) and James (from Princeton, N.J.) got to know the neighborhood kids who welcomed them with gifts of bananas, fish, and eggs.

The kids were curious to get to know who we were. Many of them were showing up at odd times and places (6 AM, while you’re brushing your teeth) bearing a gift (an egg) and wanting to hang out to get to know us. While endearing and amusing, some of these visits were making life (early mornings in particular) a bit odd. Gabriela decided it would be good to organize the neighborhood kids to visit all together at a specific time: under the mango trees on a Saturday morning. This quickly became a weekly ritual. It was something between a hangout session and an informal class ... which included a few hours of storytelling, reading, snacks, drawing, arts and crafts, music and performing skits... and lending our magazines and books to the kids for a week.       

That was the beginning of Aprender: getting to know the kids.

We soon learned that many of these funny, bright kids weren’t going to school. For the most part it was because they didn’t have shoes, or a school uniform, or because their parents thought school was a waste of time: when they could be doing chores or working.

To have your education derailed forever, while so young and for such petty reasons, seemed not only completely unfair, but also completely avoidable.

We decided to raise money from family and friends in order to get children into school for January of 2005.

From then on Aprender has grown continuously: sponsoring 50 students, running tutoring programs, arts programs, opening the library, etc.

While every child is her own individual story and while not all the stories here are successes, it is fair to say that -on the whole- things are improving. 

 Who supports Aprender

Aprender exists and functions thanks to the contributions of many generous people who have donated their time, books, money, supplies and/or talent.

To each of you let us say that your contibutions have made and continue to make a real difference in the lives of the kids in this community.

Aprender would like to thank:

Jeff Norman, David Reif and Riffle School Wear, John Womack, Pierre and Amy Kory, Jean Ross, Jaime Greene, Cindy Castillo, Amy Pitt, John Durkin, Joel and Marie Pitt, Odile and Leslie Kory, Diane Margaritis, Steve and Rachel Fletcher, Brad and Marta Davis, David H. Mcalpin, David Hans, Melissa A. Clark, Aaron and Katie Cutler, Andres Smith, Kalaa & Sadhu from Yogaville, Maite and Cristobal, Cary and Gibson, Amanda Castillo, Linda and Roy, Toro Surf, Lance and Cristine Moss, Anthony,  Kali Morse, Evelyn Edwards, Rosalpina Prudente, Alex Sherwin, Kathy Brown and family, Denise, Ned Grant, JJ and Kim, Gioconda Chavez, Marcos and Brant, Maximo Rivera, Susan Gregory, Victoria Torres, Karina, Maria de Jesus, Zeneyda Soza, Alfonso de la Tica, Samanta and Filippo, Ross, Santiago Scrinzi, Diego Blatt, Paloma Urrutia, Sara Frank Bristow and Alan Bristow, Tom and Jess, Rene Castillo, Berri and Manu, Yogaville friends, Beto Casiva, Veronica Prado, Robert and Kirstin, Lisa and Mike Starry, Mathew Prezzano, Ewee, Integral Yoga Institute NYC, and The Princeton-Granada Sister Cities Project, Audrey Kirschenbaum, Jessica Reisman, Marc Gall, Rhonda Davis, Joel & Marie Pitt, Gabe and Judith Levitt, David Reif , Jason Reif, Choon Hiang Chung, Adam Haslett, Daniel and Kate Pullen,  Robert La Velle, Steven Chambers, Marlene A. Nelson, Eric Cassis, Odile Kory, Bruce Campbell, Isabel Fabara, Mathew Elsner, Alex Sherwin, Lisa Davis, Greg Zaidel, Elizabeth Cowit, John Womack and Jean Ross, Paul Rosell, Jenny Munden, Rhianna Miller, Alana Harrison , Brett Barley, Casey Barley, Jackson Pullen, Daniel Pullen, Kate Pullen, Lee Munden, Erin Reese, FSD Tola, Joel and Beth Donovan, Whimey Moret, Espen Haugen and PRE, Eric Nicholson, Jim Newmna, Ernesto Cardenal, Nicasio Urbina, Carolina Friends School, Dawn Moraga, Danielle Bluey, Michelle Crackerian, Maja Ortiz, Lisa Starry, Ethan Parker, Juan Alcala, Danny Alcala, Natalie Budde, Dylan Bezudihut, Joseph Dhani, Leah  Bishop, Joseph MacPhail, Alexander Ray, Eric Whitter, Mie Hirschfield, Larkin Cofeey, Fareeda Zikry, Ella Ferguson, Isabella Bertram, Marlon Cohn, Sam Huff, Prof. Frances Brindle, Tom Gordon, Dan Davis, Brooke Lehman.

In addition to the above, many others have donated books to the library. For a list of book donors please see the library page: Biblioteca Los Tres Ernestos.

Creating Educational Opportunities in Rural Nicaragua



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