What “Norwalk” Means
To most of us, Norwalk is a small city in Connecticut. But to many in Nagarote, Nicaragua, “Norwalk” means so much more. Say “Norwalk” to a taxi driver in Nagarote – no street name, no address – and he will bring you to the Norwalk/Nagarote Community Center. Ask a group of kids what “Norwalk” has meant to them and they will bring tears to your eyes.
Javier, a fifteen-year-old, says he is learning computers in “Norwalk.” That $300 scholarship eighteen-year-old Evaristo receives from “Norwalk” enables him to attend college for a year; in return, he tutors younger kids at the Center. Velia, a nineteen-year-old, tells us that in “Norwalk,” her teachers are friends. Now a university student in Managua, she says she’s studying law because of “Norwalk.”
“’Norwalk’ is family to me,” says Jeffry.
Juan Gabriel Hernandez Rocha, the ex-Mayor of Nagarote, told us Nagarote and “Norwalk” have been married to each other for 27 years. “Till death do us part,” he half-joked.
“Norwalk” means promise, hope, opportunity.
The Norwalk/Nagarote Sister-City Project means so much in the lives of the people of Nagarote.
Review from #MyGivingStory
I visited the Norwalk/Nagarote Sister-City Project in Nicaragua last February. I returned deeply impressed with the quality and scope of the Project, even more strongly dedicated to helping it continue to succeed.
Now in its 26th year, N/N supports a pre-school program for little ones and an after-school program for teens. Computers, baking, sewing, hairdressing, art, and martial arts are just a few of the programs the staff offers to 185 kids as an alternative to the gangs, drugs, and pregnancies that often go hand-in-hand with poverty. The Project also offers an extensive organic agriculture and home gardening program.
Most importantly, the Norwalk/Nagarote Sister-City Project provides hope. Eighty-two students are offered scholarships from grade school to the university. While most of their parents never finished sixth grade, almost all of our scholars complete high school and continue on to college. (Sixth grade is as far as my own father went; I know first-hand how important education is, how much hope it gives).
Part of the attraction of N/N is how personal it is, how local. Friends and neighbors here in the Norwalk area are working together to help friends and neighbors in Nagarote (and once you have visited, you know these are friends and neighbors!).