Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Year of Service

After my caption on yesterday’s picture (and yesterday's comments), it seemed like a good idea to explain the year of service concept.

NPH provides an education to all their kids. It is customary for them to finish around the age of 16 in most NPH countries. However, breaking the cycle of poverty and abandonment takes more than that.

So if the kids are willing they spend a year serving NPH around the age of 16 to 18. That may be taking care of the younger kids or working on the farm. In the case of the kids I’m around, they work here either in the offices and on maintenance of the property. After that, here in Nicaragua, they go to an NPH house in Managua and go to Secundaria. They usually graduate around the age of 20.

Following that, if they choose, they can perform two years of service after which NPH supports them through university.

There may be special cases, or I may not have it quite right, but this is the general idea. My understanding is from a combination of experience in Nicaragua and Mexico, so it may be a little different in each country.

Each kid’s experience is different because when they come to NPH they may be babies and start at the age of three in pre-school, or they may come at the age of 10 and have no school experience. NPH does it’s best to adapt to each situation and quickly get each child to the level of their peers (quickly as in a year or two).

I was talking to the kids the other day who are in there year of service here at the offices about what they want to do once they get to university (secundaria is still a generalized education). Alejandro wants to study physics (although he doesn’t like math, so we’ll have to talk about that some more), Rookie wants to study music and Raymundo wants to be a doctor.

Who knows where these kids will really end up in life, but there is no doubt that it is a better place than where they’d be without NPH.

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