On a recent all-staff call, Friends of the Orphans was able to speak with Marlon Velasquez, the Home Director of NPH Nicaragua, ask questions and get some updated information straight from him! We thought we would share some of this information with all of you as well.
1. Could you please talk about some of the new programs that have been started in Nicaragua as a result of emerging government policies?
We have a new program call the Good Samaritan Program, which is a program that works with children with special needs living at the home. This program is run by volunteers who offer physical therapy and special assistance for these children.
In Managua we just started a new program called San Judas Tadeo. It is an after school program which we are working on in conjunction with the government.
We’ve also started to develop a special document that has to be signed by children’s parents and tutors. The government refers to it as temporal custody, and it stipulates that children have to visit their relatives more often we well as go home for the New Year’s celebration.
2. Is the home using this period as a time of reflection, and what are the results?
We have definitely taken this time to brainstorm and develop new strategies and programs we can execute next year.
We are trying to get approval to be recognized as a catholic community so our work could partner with the diocese of Granada.
We are also thinking of starting a program such as the one in Milpillas Mexico.
We are also looking into our legal documentation to change our title instead of calling the home an orphanage, we could change the official title to a school that offers room and board in hopes to keep more children at the home.
3. How many different facilities are there in Nicaragua and how many children reside at each? Also, what are the plans for the Ometepe property? Who, if anyone, is living there now?
Casa Asis, Casa San Jorge, Casa Padre Wasson, Casa San Judas Tadeo, Casa Santa Clara, Casa Santa Rosa de Lima make up the 6 facilities in Nicaragua. There are over 256 children residing at these facilities, with the majority (210) at Cada Padre Wasson. There are an additional 90 external children who come to NPH facilities for various programs and/or schooling.
4. Has visitor housing been constructed at Casa Padre Wasson yet?
Though construction is not yet complete, we will have a complex of seven rooms completed by the end of 2011. We approximate that these rooms will be able to accommodate 30 people.