Project FE News

Fostering education with faith for a better future.

Student Updates

Project FE students have been doing well in their classes while getting involved in extracurricular activities. Karla is studying Mathematics in college and last school year she began teaching sixth graders at the Emmanual Mongalo school in Jalapa. She is also working with the kids to plant a school garden and organize civic learning opportunities for them. Another student, Mariela, will begin teaching at the school in her community next year as part of her practicum for her Spanish degree. Cindy, who is about to start her final year of an English degree, has been teaching English for a couple years now and will continue to do so on Sundays. Meanwhile, Project FE nursing student, Mary Leonela, has been completing rotating shifts of 15 days each at various rural health clinics as part of her practicum. Next year she will begin her social service year, during which she will work at the hospital or the Health Center in Jalapa.

Welcome New Students!

With your support, we were thrilled to offer scholarships to four new students this fall: Osner, Margine, Alexania, and Novelbi. Two are college students: Margine is studying nursing, and Novelbi is the first student we have sponsored to study medicine. When Alexania graduates from high school in two years, she wants to study science education. The students joined our program in time to participate in a day of service this fall at the construction site of the water project in the rural mountain community of El Siuce. They tied rebar, mixed cement, and enjoyed conversation with the local people.

Clean Water

Project FE students have had the chance to engage with Friendship City Project's (FCP) clean water initiatives in the Jalapa Valley, helping paint water tanks, visiting communities to learn about the process of installing the systems, and supporting various aspects of the construction process. Most recently, students did initial outreach and a census in two communities, Nuevo Amanecer and La Florida, to prepare for a potential purchase of clay water filters. Over the past year, FCP and the Boulder Valley Rotary Club have partially funded the purchase of almost 200 water filters for communities in the Jalapa Valley. On each occasion, the community has provided a portion of the funds and created trainings and follow up assessments to ensure the filters are used properly. The filters protect families from a host of illnesses, including diarrhea, kidney and intestinal infection, scabies, allergies, malnutrition and anemia. They are an important stop-gap measure to provide healthy drinking water while communities work towards installing or renovating larger water systems.

Women in STEM

This is a picture of Meyling when she first received a Project FE scholarship a few years ago. This year she started a college degree studying Natural Sciences. We have also accepted a new university student, Karla, who is beginning a degree in Mathematics. We are excited to support these two as they study math and science, and we hope they can serve as role models for other young women considering the STEM fields - and perhaps tutor high school students struggling in those subjects.

Community Service: Santa Martha Preschool

This month, the students volunteered in the village of Santa Martha in the construction of a preschool and community center. This was part of a collaboration with the CU Denver "Design Build" program, in which architecture students at CU designed a preschool using all local materials, then spent 10 days in Santa Martha working alongside members of the community to build it. The CU students came up with a unique and beautiful design, with colorful louvers along the side of the building that can be manually rotated to block the sun. Participating in this process was a great learning experience for Project FE students.

Students Volunteer in Local Schools, Prenatal Care Center

For her fall community service project, Project FE nursing student Katerin proposed helping teachers at the elementary school in her village make creative learning materials for reading, writing and math activities. She visited the classroom several times and had fun making these tools with the teachers and students. Meanwhile, Project FE students from the community of Nuevo Amanecer grew ornamental plants to decorate the school cafeteria in their village. The next project that the students have planned is to repair the greenhouse and plant vegetables at Jalapa's Casa Materna (Prenatal Care Center). The students will also coordinate workshops with the pregnant women at the center, so that they can be involved in maintenance in the future.

University Students Complete Fifth, Final Year

This year, three of our students will complete their Licenciatura, successfully rounding off five years of university coursework and internships. We are proud to say that their grades in the first four years have been outstanding. Elizabeth and Yensi will graduate with nursing degrees and marks as high as 100% in challenging courses ranging from surgical medical nursing to microbiology and psychiatric nursing. Juan Gabriel will graduate with a degree in English, including an emphasis on translation and teaching. They are now making their first forays into the postgraduate job market - Juan Gabriel recently completed a translation job in Managua, and Elizabeth has opened up a health clinic in her own home that offers low-cost medicine and basic health services. They have expressed commitment to supporting Project FE in years to come, helping to coordinate service projects and mentor younger students.

Nuevo Amanecer Community Center

In 2017, our parent organization, the Boulder Jalapa Friendship City Projects, partnered with the community of Nuevo Amanecer and the CU Denver Design Build program to construct a community center in the village of Nuevo Amanecer. Several Project FE students are from Nuevo Amanecer, and this spring, they completed community service hours working on the construction project. This entailed refurbishing a dilapidated building so that it can serve as an early childhood education and daycare center, elderly care center and active community space.

Congratulations Katerin and Mariela!

Congratulations to Katerin and Mariela, who graduated from high school in December. They look forward to matriculating as university students in 2017. Katerin will study education and wants to be a teacher, a profession in high demand in the Jalapa Valley. Mariela will study social sciences. Both girls are drafting letters to their sponsors where they describe in detail why they selected these degrees. We can't wait to see what the future holds for each of them.

Water for the Community

For almost two years, Friendship City Projects (FCP), together with the community of El Trapiche in Jalapa, Nicaragua, has worked to restore and repair a broken water system. The goal was to provide something most of us take for granted: clean drinking water for each and every family, in a community that might double in size to 500 families over the next 10 years. The El Trapiche project is now almost complete, and water is flowing to nearly 300 families. This achievement represents hundreds of hours of work, including technical analysis and design, community organizing, fundraising, and physically constructing the system.

With oversight from Karla and her daughter Morelia, Project FE students have had the opportunity to learn about this project as it progresses. They have also offered hands-on support. In October, the group painted the the completed water tank. They have also been raising tree nurseries of 100 trees per student to plant around the water source. Reforestation is a crucial component of healthy watersheds, because trees clean water as it filters through the earth and prevent erosion.

New Students in 2016

Two students joined the Project FE community this fall. Isidra Tamara and Ervin Araúz were raised by single mothers who work seasonally in agriculture. Ervin's mother has crossed the border to neighboring countries in order to support his studies. He hopes an education will help him and his family lead a better life. He would like to give back by teaching people to read and write. Isidra Tamara has 7 siblings. Her favorite subject is math, and she hopes to study informatics in the future. We are excited to welcome Ervin and Tamara into the program and support them as they pursue their studies.

Lilli's Year of Service

Lilliana completed her Professional nursing degree in March. She is now beginning her "año social" or year of service. The Nicaraguan Ministry of Health requires that all nursing graduates complete a year of service after completing their degrees. They receive a very minimal stipend, but they have the possibility to be hired at the end of the year. If hired by the hospital in Jalapa, Lilli can continue to work while she pursues her 2-year licenciatura in 2017.

Meet Mary Leonela!

Project FE student Mary Leonela graduated from high school this year. In this video she explains her goals and motivations for pursuing a degree in nursing.

"Jalapa cuenta con una enfermera Profesional mas para servir a su gente"

This March, Lilli Huete received her professional Nursing degree from the university of Ocotal Lilli is an incredibly dedicated student and nurse who has completed countless hours of practical and volunteer work within the rural communities of Jalapa. We are very happy to see her dreams take shape. A huge thank you to Lilli's sponsor, Sally Anne, who has supported her nursing education.

Felicidades Mary Leonela y Cindy Paola!

This past November two more Project FE students graduated from high school. Cindy Paola Lumbi is from the small community of Pasmata. She graduated #1 in her class and will be advancing into the third year of an English program at the local university. Ultimately she hopes to study systems engineering. She is highly motivated and believes in lifelong learning. Mary Leonela is one of three Project FE students from the remote village of Nuevo Amanecer. She was also a top student in her high school and wants to continue on to pursue a nursing degree next year. A big thank you to Mary and Cindy's sponsors, Andy and Angela Rose Maeding, Joan Goodhue and Russ Arlotta, for their support of these young women over 5 years of secondary school.

Student Spotlight: Juan Gabriel

Juan Gabriel is currently working toward his bachelor degree in English at Martin Lutero University in Jalapa. This past semester he began working as a high school teacher on Sundays in a community called La Mia. The school he works at caters to students who have to study on the weekends so they can work and earn income during the week. In his remaining free time, Juan Gabriel volunteers teaching biblical studies to children at the Evangelical Church in Campigny, the village he was raised in.

Meet Our Students!

In spring of 2015, Boulder High student Sofia Orrey traveled to Jalapa with her father Jeff Orrey to document the words and experiences of Project FE students. We are thrilled to share with you the film they created.

Congratulations Cindy Paola!

Congratulations to Project FE student Cindy Paola, who recently graduated from the U.S. Embassy's Access Program, an English program for students who have limited opportunities to study English in their local communities. Cindy was among 400 students selected throughout Nicaragua based on economic need and academic merit. We could not be happier for this brilliant young woman as she tackles a second language and gears up for college. In these photos, Cindy poses with siblings (top) and Project FE Coordinator Karla Pozo (bottom) at her graduation.

New students, Reflection and Thanks

I am thrilled to announce that thanks to the generous support of several new sponsors, in January we will accept three new students into Project FE. Two of them are nursing students and the third is midway through high school.

I want to share the words of one nursing student, Elizabeth Hernandez, that spoke to me on a personal level this year: “I want to continue with my studies because I want to become a professional and attend patients with love, respect and dedication. That is to say, both quality and warmth. My dream is to help those people who become sick and cannot receive attention, perhaps because they live in remote areas."

In September 2014, I was seriously injured in a high impact car crash. As traumatic as this experience was, I felt incredibly lucky that my injury took place here in the United States, where I could count on trained medical personnel to care for me. If the Emergency Medical Transport (EMT) did not arrive and stabilize my broken neck, the result may have been paralysis.There are too many communities in Jalapa where shortages of trained medical personnel and adequate infrastructure take their toll in human lives.

Through her application and letters of recommendation, Elizabeth shows a depth of compassion that is much-needed in medical services all over the world.

It brings me joy that through this program, we can help young women like Elizabeth attain the skills they need to support members of their community not just physically, but also emotionally during their times of greatest need.


Year after year we are blown away by our Nicaraguan coordinator Karla’s energy and creativity. Once a month, students and their families gather in Jalapa to set goals and discuss challenges. Separately, Karla visits students in their respective villages to have more targeted conversations with each family. Recently, Karla started a new policy of bringing a student with her on each visit so they can better understand the unique circumstances of their peers. Alongside Karla, nursing student Migdalia visited Lilliana during the workweek. She has always looked up to Lilliana for her academic excellence, and she was shocked to see the truly humble conditions in which Lilliana lives. Realizing that Lilliana arises at 3 AM each morning to labor in a remote farm, returning home as late as 7 PM, helped Migdalia understand the sacrifices Lilliana makes in order to study. Migdalia is no stranger to sacrifice; she graduated from high school as a single, teenage mother and continues to work seasonally in tobacco plantations as she raises her daughter and studies nursing. But these visits can help open the students’ eyes to the nuance of the struggles around them. Migdalia told Karla the visit left her more determined than ever to persevere through academic and personal challenges.

Congratulations to Margarita Migdalia!

Margarita donned a white cap and uniform this summer in a ceremony officially welcoming her into the profession of nursing. She has successfully completed her first year of nursing school at the Universidad Martin Lutero in Jalapa, and already she has taken on an important role in the health of her community through her practicals at the local hospital.

The hospital, like so many in the developing world, lacks infrastructure and personel to meet the health needs of Jalapa and surrounding rural communities. Although many factors impact the availability of health resources in a place like Jalapa, educating talented locals such as Migdalia in the nursing profession will help bridge the gap to provide much-needed care to vulnerable groups. Migdalia knows that becoming a nurse will also help her provide for her young daughter, pictured in her arms at left. We are proud of both Migdalia and Lilliana, our two brilliant nurses in-training, knowing that a nursing degree will help them support themselves, their families and their community.

Monthly meetings help students make big decisions

Over the past two years, Project FE has witnessed some major changes. Two students, Juan Gabriel and Migdalia, graduated high school and began university coursework in nursing and English. A third student, Lilliana, was accepted into the program during her first year as a nursing student in Ocotal. Now, Johania has graduated from high school and Juan Ramon is beginning his final year. At monthly meetings, parents, students and Project FE siblings gather to talk about successes and challenges in school and provide a support network for students geering up to make big choices about their future. We love incorporating the ideas of family members into new projects, and creating a space for remote communities to build relationships.

Congratulations to Johania and Her Family!

Johania attended her high school graduation ceremony this January. A kind and calm spirit, Johania has worked hard to reach this milestone in her life, while serving as a role model for her two younger sisters. Her top priority is to help her grandmother provide for the two girls, and she wants to pursue vocational training so she can open a small business.

Johania's poem captures the essence of Project FE.

We wanted to share these words with you, written by one of our students for her sponsor, because we feel they perfectly capture the essence of our program.

A Project FE scholarship means more than books, uniforms and school fees, though these things can determine whether a child goes to school. It means more than mentorship and guidance, though our students benefit immeasurably from the dedication and wisdom of Karla, our in-country representative.

At its core, Project FE is about friendship. It’s about believing in a community that goes beyond the borders of a nation or the barriers of language and experience. When Barbara decided to sponsor Johania, despite never knowing her or her family, she said to Johania: “I see you. I see your struggle and your strength and I believe in your future.” This is a very powerful message to send to a young person coming of age in incredibly difficult circumstances. It is, as Johania says, an act of love.

It is this love and support that we hope to foster between sponsors and their students, between Boulder and Jalapa, between people whose lives may never touch but who recognize each others’ common humanity.

“From your home, to my home
There is a celestial ribbon.
We continue as friends
Though life separates us.

Two carnations in the water
Cannot wither.
Two friends that love each other,
Cannot forget.

I cultivate a white rose
In July as I would in January.
For my sincere friend
Who has offered me a steady hand.

From the sky a rose fell,
Barbara took it up
She put it in her hair
And how beautifully it stayed.
God Bless You… Friend”

Johania, Project FE Student

Informal library at Nuevo Amanecer.

Project FE is excited to pilot an informal library in the village of Nuevo Amanecer.

The purpose of the library is to make textbooks more readily available to Project FE students as well as other high school students from Nuevo Amanecer

Currently, many students in this rural village must walk for two hours each way to access textbooks in Jalapa. This requires them to spend many hours far from home until late in the evening in order to complete their studies. By establishing a mini-library in Nuevo Amanecer, we will allow students to check out books and do homework from the comfort of their homes, so that they can have better nutrition and comfort throughout the day and are less likely to become sick. We hope to establish similar libraries in two other communities where Project FE students live and study.

Students contribute to environmental and social programs.

It's summer vacation here in the United States, but it is mid-semester in Jalapa and our students are hard at work in their classes and community service projects. Four of our students have volunteered this semester at elementary schools in their communities tutoring younger students. Karla helped facilitate this effort along with the directors of the elementary schools. The students in Nuevo Amanecer and Champigny have volunteered at the casa materna, which provides support to mothers before and during pregnancy. They helped in the planning and outreach phases of building a greenhouse.

New Student.

We are proud to announce that we are welcoming a new student into Project FE. Lilliana finished her final year of high school with A's in almost every class, and with the support of Project FE, she is now enrolled at the Ocotal Nursing School. We have high hopes for Lilli and we are inspired by the dedication she shows to her studies.

Congratulations to Migdalia and Juan Gabriel.

Migdalia and Juan Gabriel successfully graduated from secondary school last month! We are so thrilled that they have come this far, and we are confident that they will continue forward in their studies with every bit as much enthusiasm and dedication in years to come. They are now enrolled in the local university in Jalapa to study nursing and English, respectively. A shoutout to Paul and Yuriko, their sponsors, and to everyone who donated to help them achieve their dreams. Looking ahead, two more students are scheduled to graduate in December 2013. We can't wait to see what the future holds for them.

The Journey continues.

This is an exciting time of the year in the Jalapa Valley. December will mark the end of another school year, and for two of our of students that means graduating from secondary school! But for Juan Gabriel and Migdalia, the journey does not end here--in fact it is just beginning. This December, Migdalia will apply to study nursing at the local university in Jalapa, and Juan Gabriel plans to pursue a degree in English. As those two students gear up for the next chapter of their lives, our brilliant in-country administrator Karla Pozo is coordinating a series of career-development discussions with a local university to help our students hone in on their educational and career goals.

Series of workshops for our students.

Project FE students have been taking part in a series of workshops organized by Carolina, a Peace Corps volunteer in the Jalapa Valley. The most recent workshop focused on building self-esteem, and the next will deal with sexual and reproductive health. The workshops are not limited to Project FE students, and the organizers hope to reach a larger group of students as the series progresses. We hope this will be an opportunity for our students to spread the word!

Community service projects.

Our students have either initiated or become involved with community service projects in each of their respective communities. The four students in Nuevo Amanecer have been volunteering in a Literacy Program organized by the Ministry of Education. The focus during the final weeks of the program is to help participants write letters explaining how their lives have changed since they began to read and write. Students in Champigny and Santa Rosa are volunteering in vegetable gardens run by the church, and the students from Pasmata and Namasli are helping out in a school vegetable garden.

Cindy top student of her class!

Cindy Paola Lumbi, a Project FE Student from Pasmata, was the top student in her class this semester. According to Karla, she worked very hard for this honor. All of our students have expressed heartfelt support and conviction that her grades will continue to improve.