Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere. Minimum wage is barely $170 per month—with 48-hour workweeks. Thanks to your help, youth in Matagalpa have hope for their future. Your funding has supported computer training which has allowed youth to access college majors and job prospects they may not have otherwise. Thank you!
Forty-nine students graduated on Thursday, October 6, from the Computer Training Program run by CEPAD in Matagalpa. The training program consisted of over 120 hours of hands-on coursework. The courses were taught by professors from local universities, and were made available to everyone with an interest in learning more about computers. The program has graduated over 270 students over the past five years.
Matagalpa is a municipality with many young people, nearly 50% are under 16. Unfortunately, there are few opportunities for so many youth if they don’t have proper training. Matagalpa is mostly made up of virgin forests, agricultural areas, and fields for livestock. While past generations have been content with their living and working conditions, greater access to information and the rapid changes of the modern world have caused the younger generations to seek better and more modern opportunities for work and life.
Milton is one of the students who graduated this October. A native of Ocotal, a small village located 30 minutes of unpaved roads away from Matagalpa, Milton is a 17-year-old who is studying to become an industrial engineer. He comes from a family of seven, including his parents, two older brothers and two younger sisters.
His experience so far in life has been mostly working in the field, growing beans, corn, and other vegetables. Only a decade ago, he would most likely have been destined to the same work for the rest of his life.
However, with the modernization of Matagalpa, Milton wants to set his sights higher, and become the first one in his family to become both a college graduate and an industrial engineer.
One of the biggest hurdles for engineering students in Nicaragua is knowledge in using spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel, in order to perform complex mathematical calculations. This is also true in Milton’s case. Milton has no access to a computer at home, and CEPAD’s training program is the only way he can become more experienced in computer use. The 6-month long program has provided Milton with the tools necessary to excel in his coursework, and by extension, his future career.
By becoming an industrial engineer, Milton will be earning more than 3 times the Nicaraguan minimum wage. This will make sure he earns more than the basic living expense for a family of three, which the government estimates at around $400 monthly. He will be able to provide for his family, and if his spouse works as well, they will be able to buy a house, transportation, and perhaps even give back to their community.
However, the road to success is not easy. Milton is working hard to pay for his college tuition, which at $50 a month, is a meager sum by US standards, but a difficult burden to Milton and his family. Having access to CEPAD’s computer training has allowed Milton, and many others like him, to continue his dreams by acquiring computer skills without having to buy a computer or pay for expensive classes.
The 49 students who graduated this year, and the 270 who graduated from the past 5 years, all have similar stories of their own. All of these stories have been made possible through your thoughtful and caring contributions. Often what these young men and women need is a glimmer of hope that they can actually achieve what they set out to do, and they will find the strength to keep going.
You provide hope for a better future to these young adults. Our training program helps them apply to higher-earning jobs that give them access to more advanced career paths. Professional jobs in architecture, engineering, and banking all require computer proficiency, and therefore remain out of the reach of the majority of the rural poor. CEPAD’s computer program is accredited by all regional universities, giving them a much needed advantage for getting a job.
With your continued help, we can keep empowering many Nicaraguan youth and young adults into a more promising future, and together make a better Nicaragua, and a better world. If you would like to continue to support this and other programs please visit our donate page.