Central America and Mexico


ESCUELITA YO PUEDO (NICARAGUA) - $500: March 2005 – Donna Tabor (Nicaragua, 1996-1998)

Donna Tabor decided to stay in Nicaragua after her Peace Corps service. It took her a few years to get the school and dormitory built for the street boys that she wanted to help. A year later she decided that she would use a small house that had been donated to her cause to start a café where the boys would learn the restaurant trade by cooking, serving, and managing the tiny establishment. Donna has now started Escuelita Yo Puedo (The Little I Can School). Basically, the school is a storefront area that contains computers and library books. These children are denied their right to be educated by the system that rules. Because of the need to work and to help support their families, there is a daily struggle to compete with a mother who will drag her child away from the school to get back to the streets to sell candy or beg for money. Escuelita Yo Puedo is a window of opportunity for these poor children.

CAFÉ CHAVALOS CULINARY ARTS PROJECT (GRANADA, NICARAGUA) - $1,000*: October 2006 – Donna Tabor (Nicaragua, 1996-1998) / Maureen Shanley (Colombia, 1977-1979)

Our goal is to augment an existing successful program that addresses the problem of disenfranchised young people who were in gangs and involved in drug use. The program, Café Chavalos, trains chefs and waiters to not only enter gainful employment in the foodservice and tourism industry but to train them in restaurant management and business in general. 

While we have operated successfully for over two years, we have outgrown our space and can no longer handle the number of people who want to experience Café Chavalos. In short, we need a bigger restaurant!

A larger space will allow us to serve larger tour groups, individual diners, and provide evening entertainment by another youth project, The School for Comedy and Mime. It will also house our teaching chef on the premises. But most importantly, we will be able to accept a larger number of students. With this larger staff, we will open for lunch and dinner six days a week instead of dinner only four times a week. Check out the following websites for more information: http://www.buildingnewhope.org.

The area in the photo below will be the kitchen in the new restaurant!!!

Kitchen space cooking.

* An additional $1,000 grant was awarded April 2009

COMPUTERS FOR SOMOTILLO (NICARAGUA) - $1,000: July 2013 – Maureen Shanley (Colombia, 1977-1979)

Connecticut Quest for Peace sent and connected to the internet ten computers (laptops) to two very rural schools in Somotillo, Nicaragua: San Ignacio School & IBRA (Instituto Básico para la Agricultura Rural) Secondary School. These computers will not only be used to teach children valuable computer skills that can transfer into better job opportunities, but they will also open the “world” to this poor, tiny, rural community in northern Nicaragua. At night these computers will also be used by townspeople for a small fee. Thus, the school can use the computers to pay for the school’s internet charges and the townspeople will have an inexpensive way to broaden their world.

NUEVA GUINEA COMMUNITY ENGLISH CENTER (NICARAGUA) - $1,000: May 2014 – Isabel Bauerlein (Nicaragua, 2012-2014)

The Nueva Guinea Community English Center is in a renovated building in the town park where there is collection of English books and learning materials. The English resource center enables all members of the community to improve their level of English. Future plans for the center include offering English classes, conversational groups, workshops for English teachers, a materials lending library for English teachers, homework help for high school students, and organizing a volunteer program to connect university students studying English with opportunities to practice teaching.

FRIENDS OF GUATEMALA - $2,000: June 2018 - Terese Maineri (Guatemala 2003 – 2005)

Their goal is to provide emergency relief supplies, water, food, medicine, clothing and household items to the victims of the recent eruption of Volcan Fuego.  Over 100 people were killed, nearly 200 are missing and 2,800 people have been evacuated to the town of Esquintla. It is these 2,800 displaced people who will benefit from the emergency supplies as they attempt to rebuild their lives in a new place.

ALTICULTURA (GUATEMALA) - $2,000: March 2019, Rachael M. Shenyo, (Guatemala 2002-2004)

Alticultura is a Guatemalan registered NGO that leverages scientific and field knowledge to address the ravaging impacts of climate change on the vulnerable communities of the Guatemalan Altiplano. Their focus is on basic climate research, innovation for appropriate climate adaptation practices, and education/ extension for integral climate leadership. The vision is the creation of climate-resilient communities through the development of human capital, thought leadership, and empowerment.

COMMUNITY ENGLISH CENTER (NICARAGUA) - $2,000: OCTOBER 2020 - Maureen Shanley (Colombia 1977-1979)

The Community English Center in Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua was started in 2013 by Diana Blandón Jirón, a Nicaraguan English teacher, and Isabel Bauerlein, a PCV in Nicaragua. It started with an email reaching out to an RPCV who they had heard was interested in helping women and children in Nicaragua. They wanted to start an English Library that would service local university students and those in the community who were just beginning to learn English. Maureen Shanley was able to send thousands of books to the CEC and other PCVs in Nicaragua through CT Quest for Peace. In April 2018, a political uprising affected the CEC because they had to leave the municipal site they were using, and Peace Corps had to leave Nicaragua. Nevertheless, Diana Blandon persevered. She donated land, created a GoFundMe Page, sought donations from international donors, including the CTRPCV Community Service Fund, and received assistance from the local community in an effort to construct a one-room school/library. The Community English Center (school/library) is now open and thriving. The building is used during the day to teach mothers sewing and in the afternoon there are English classes at various levels. When there are school vacations, Diana has classes directed at environmental conservation and robotics. The Nueva Guinea community uses this resource all the time and is grateful for the CTRPCV support. Follow the CEC at: https://www.facebook.com/CommunityEnglishCenterNuevaGuinea.

NUEVA GUNEA COMMUNITY ENGLISH CENTER (NICARAGUA) - S2,000: May 2022 - Maureen Shanley (Colombia, 1977- 1979; Virtual PCV Colombia, 2021-2022)

Due to unexpected heavy rains from two powerful hurricanes, the east wall of the Community English Center (CEC) in Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua was compromised and had to be reinforced to ensure that the one room school/library (CEC) would remain structurally safe. In 2020 CTRPCV and a few CTRPCV private donors provided the final funding necessary to complete the building of this one room school/library that was initially started with the support of a PCV in 2014.  The mission of the CEC is to teach English and promote a better cultural understanding of the USA in Nicaragua. The center also provides instruction in robotics, sewing, and environmental education to name a few. The building is now structurally sound and there are dreams of being able to add another room to this Community English Center sometime in the future.