English

Welcome to the English webpage of Sonflora Nicaragua.

The Project

Sonflora

We support children in two villages close to Leon in Nicaragua who grow up suffering from abusive homes.

The name of the organisation „Sonflora“ originates from the Esperanto language and means Sunflower. Sunflowers always face the sun and leave their shadow behind. Our work in the project tries to take up this core idea in providing children living in the rurally affected villages of Las Peñitas, Poneloya and Tamarindo an open-minded place where they are welcome to break out of their daily routine.

We try to show them a different view of the world, without violence and without responsibilities that only adults should have to bear. They should learn that children have rights in the first place and not just duties.

They have the possibility to get to know an education that is fair and affectionate but still consistent. The project wants to give them a space where they can learn, play, do sports, have fun but most importantly be children.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Central America. In many regions of the land, the social as well as the economical reality is not even close to be compared to the common standards of western industrial nations. A major part of the population is living with less than 2$ per day, which is far below the poverty level.

The biggest problem of Central American countries like Nicaragua is traceable corruption in almost every legal and executive institution. Education is therefore a resource that unfortunately does not stand on top of the agenda of the responsibles in the government. Due to a lack of commitment in this sector in the past years the educational level in Nicaragua is shockingly low. The conditions in the public schools prevent the children – who are the key to a sustainable social and cultural change of the country – from being raised to being creative, open-minded and selfdeterminate individuals. Most of the time the access to the small amount of qualitatively good education already fails when it comes to the funding of necessary school materials as well as the mandatory school uniforms. The whole school equipment costs about 60 US $, which for many parents is a whole month’s paycheck.

Due to the apparent poverty, children often get forced to start working for their parents very early. They work at the beach and sell souvenirs to tourists, help at the street-market stands of their parents, work in salt refineries at the coast or collect mussels in the mangrove swamps to sell them later. Therefore, parents decide not to send their children to school or get tempted to cancel their education too early, because they need them as full-time workers to support and provide the family with the necessary funds. Many Nicaraguan children have never visited a school and will probably never be able to, unless a drastic change in the educational system happens.

Because children of poor families have to start so early in providing and supporting their parents and siblings financially they miss out on very important parts of their childhood. Additionally, physical and mental violence, especially in rural areas, have become the favourite and most widely spread educational method over the last decades. The socially manifested „Machismo“ often results in the fathers leaving their children to their mother after birth and pass the whole upbringing into their hands. The always-changing male attachment-figure and the self-concept of some men on how to deal with minor women they like (also an aspect of the „Machismo“ culture) encourages sexual violence in many homes and families. An observation which, as we found out in many cases in the project, unfortunately turned out to be true.

A different but also shocking fact is, that in Nicaragua, illegally organised sex-tourism has been established during the past years. Minor boys and girls coming from poor backgrounds are often affected by this.

Goals and Activities

The concern of our project is to give the children from Tamarindo, Poneloya and Las Peñitas the possibility to develop away from their familiary troubles. We want them to follow their interests and dreams and finally play the role of lighthearted children which they’re supposed to be.

Our work is oriented at the needs of the children and at the same time teaches them the meaning of a social contact with each other and our volunteers. The children have the opportunity to live a stress- and violence-free life while they are in the project and find and use their individual potential in a hands-on way.

Therefore we stimulate the creativity of the kids on different levels of and with different activities. The main focus of our work is:

– Participation in scholar education, helping with homework, and English-, Math-, Reading-, and Spanish-lessons.

– Psychological assistance

– Health- and sexual-education

– Informational events about children rights

– Handcrafting and painting

– Sports (baseball or football-teams that train on a regular basis)

– Guitar-lessons

– Dancing

– Plays, circus

– Field-trips (e.g. volcano (cerro negro) or mangrove swamps (Isla Juan Benado))

– Activities with the topic of environmental awareness

– Regular warm and healthy meals

–  … and of course: games!

For us it is essential to put easy-going, hands-on learning into the center. Offering opportunities for development, paying attention to their needs and finding out about different interests, skills and abilities of the children are the main characteristics of our efforts. To do so, we work hand-in-hand with Nicaraguan volunteers, parents and schools.

Volunteering

You want to get to know Nicaragua, live the culture, broaden your horizon, become active in a charity-project and much more?

At the project Sonflora, experienced volunteers from all fields are working together. Also, the project frequently gets supported by Nicaraguan volunteers as well as students, high-school graduates and professionally experienced people from all around the world.

Volunteers either work directly at the beach of Poneloya or in the village of Tamarindo, both located about half an hour away from the student city of Leon. You will meet fellow volunteers, improve your Spanish, work on your social skills and enlarge your horizon.

We are looking for volunteers in the following areas:

– daycare for the children (helping with homework, teaching lessons, activities on the weekends and during the holidays) – volunteers from all backgrounds

– administration and marketing (help taking care of the donators and mentors, fundraising, administration of the project) – volunteers with a background in business administration or similar

– psychological care and social work  – volunteers with coresponding field of study or practical experience

It does not matter what experience you have, the most important thing is your motivation and you being ready to take responsibility and realize your own creative ideas.

See the volunteer experiences of Lukas (English) or Chloé (Spanish).

Have the time of your life and become a part of our Sonflora-family.

You should have some basic knowledge of the Spanish language and be willing to stay for at least three months.

Contact Lena at sonflora_deutschland@hotmail.com if you are interested to work with us and send us your CV and a motivation letter.

Support us!

On-site in Nicaragua or even from your home you can have an effect and put a smile on a kid’s face in Nicaragua.

Here you can find information about your possible contributions:

take over a mentoring for one of the kids to give him/her the possibility for a brighter future

volunteer on-site: Volunteering in Nicaragua

help with a donation to our donations account or send us a donation in kind. With only 300 euros you ensure nutrition supplies for all the kids for one month and with only 20-30 euros the school- and homework material for one month can be provided for every child. Every small donation helps us a lot and definitely helps the children and only the children directly.

– organize a fundraiser

Feel free to contact us with your ideas.

Mentoring

We are still looking for many mentors that allow children to receive a better education.

The mentoring program has been founded in the year 2011 and already helps 18 kids to visit an appropriate school. Their talents and abilities are being much better fostered that way than if they would in public schools where the education is insufficient.

We are desperately looking for mentors who are willing to offer a child a better life for just 55$ per month. Next to the school fees, this amount is covering the material and transportation costs.

Next to the financial support, the kids also experience a very special appreciation and attention that they really need and cannot get in their familial surroundings.

For example little Cesar who is 10 years old came to us and told us that he would really like to have a mentor. When we asked him why he would answer that he is feeling lonely. Cesar is one of the most intelligent kids in the group and his potential is being insufficiently fostered. A mentorship would allow him to break out of the circle of poverty and violence that rules his world right now.

Or Teresa who whishes to have a mentor to have someone to love her and sends her letters and maybe a little present for her birthday.

Next to the programme that supports children to attend a private school, we also offer mentoring for a child to attend public school for 14 $ per month.

We can guarantee that the money will 100% be going directly to the children. Instead of giving it to the parents we directly pay the school fees and take the kids to shop for school material and uniforms.

There of course is a possibility to write to your mentees or even come to meet them in Nicaragua.

If you want to become a mentor contact us on patenschaft_sonflora_de@hotmail.com, sonflora_schweiz@hotmail.com or sonflora_lux@hotmail.com.

Bank Account

Switzerland:

Recipient: Sonflora Schweiz
IBAN: CH08 0900 0000 8563 3249 2
BIC: POFICHBEXXX
Account no.: 85-633249-2
Bank: PostFinance
Adress: Sonflora Schweiz, c/o Monika Rohrer, St. Jakobstrasse 8, 6330 Cham

Germany:

Recipient: SONFLORA-Deutschland
IBAN: DE91 6609 0800 0009 8898 84
BIC: GENODE61BBB

Austria:

Bank Burgenland
Recipient: SONFLORA-AUSTRIA
IBAN:  AT 375100090225884100
BIC: EHBBAT2E
Account no. 902 258 84 100
Bank code: 51000

Luxemburg:

Empfänger: Sonflora Lëtzebuerg a.s.b.l.
IBAN: LU75 0019 4355 0706 5000
BIC: BCEELULL

Contact

Mary Amrein, Project Leader – Poneloya, Nicaragua


Email: sonfloranica@hotmail.com

Sarah von Niederhäusern, coordinator Switzerland


Email: sonflora_schweiz@hotmail.com

Lena Meyer, coordinator Germany & contact person for volunteering


Email: sonflora_deutschland@hotmail.com

Sebastian Swiatkowski, Marion Höschle, contact persons for mentoring Germany

Email: patenschaft_sonflora_de@hotmail.com

Laurent Karels, coordinator Luxemburg


Email: sonflora_lux@hotmail.com

Oskar Radakovits, coordinator Austria

Email: sonflora-austria@gmx.at

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