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Many children in Nicaragua cannot go to school because their family cannot afford to pay for their supplies and uniform, and if they do attend, many struggle to concentrate because of hunger. Older students often cannot attend the university due to the lack of $30 a month for tuition, supplies, and lunch. Currently, 26 such children are each sponsored by individuals for $20 a month, or $30 a month for university students. They are followed by Ninos y Ninas del Futuro and required to attend Sunday School, volunteer at the children's project as a way of giving back, have good conduct at home and school as well as in the community, and maintain good grades.
In Nicaragua people with disabilities such as people with Down Syndrome are hidden away. Years ago we built a house for Flora, a grandmother who was trying to protect herself, her daughter, and two grandchildren—all three of whom have Down Syndrome. Three students at the local university in the social work department and their professor have visited Flora and her family. Together they came up with a plan—quite an elaborate one. After seeing that Christian, her grandson, had some talents, they envisioned him selling yarn crafts....square yarn doilies, yarn purses, and other crafts. They found a stall at the artisans market in Somoto where he could display his wares and they have developed a plan to teach him additional crafts and market his pieces of art in other communities. The hope is that he will have built a community of support as others see his abilities, develop a means to earn a living and become an example for others to see that people with disabilities do indeed have abilities and are people with whom they can develop a relationship. It is also hoped that this project will have paved the way for others with similar disabilities to be an integral part of the community.