August 2017 – Indigenous youth empower students in Nicaragua
From August 3rd – 12th, five Indigenous youth from British Columbia and Ontario traveled to Nicaragua with SchoolBOX’s Indigenous Youth Empowering Students (IYES) program. The program began in 2009 with the vision to empower Indigenous youth to become leaders of change not only abroad during their volunteer trip but also at home in Canada.
“What we’ve found with the IYES program is that through helping children in extreme poverty in Nicaragua, youth are able to tap into their own potential and power to be forces of change in the world. At home, the gaps in education seem overwhelming but being part of building a school, or installing a library in Nicaragua makes it realistic to envision how to make change. The youth are helping kids and also being inspired by the hope and joy of the children and people of Nicaragua. It is a mutually beneficial, empowering experience for all.” – Sarah Kerr
The group consisted of Wet’suwet’an woman Danielle and Aaliyah came from Burns Lake, BC., Terri and her daughter Kiera from Wabauskang First Nation in Northwestern Ontario and Aaron from Sheguiandah First Nation on Manitoulin Island. All five volunteers are fierce advocates for their Indigenous culture and delighted in sharing it with the children and community members at Flor de Sacuanjoche School where they helped to finish construction on a new classroom. They taught Anishinaabemowin language, showed the kids how to smudge and braid sweetgrass, lead a community round dance, and introduced the seven grandfather teachings. In exchange, the Flor de Sacuanjoche teachers shared their traditional Nicaraguan costumes, dances, and history. Read more about it in the Sudbury Star here.
This fall, SchoolBOX will partner with Terri to bring a new Indigenous library to her home community in Wabauskang First Nation. We are so encouraged by Terri’s leadership in this project and look forward to learning from her and her community as we partner together to bring educational resources to kids!
Photos from the IYES trip: