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Story 1 Brenda Onsang

Story 2 Juan Barrera

Story 3  Angela Robleto

Story 4  Elba Dina Ochoa

Story 5 Marcos Padilla

Story 6 Esteban Sánchez




 
 
 
 
 



 






 Empowering Teachers' Capacity - Marcos Padilla Martínez & Acción Médica Cristiana    By Alex Devoid
 
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Marcos Antonio Padilla Martinez is a 28-year-old elementary school teacher.  He teaches in an old mining village called Risco de Oro (Flake of Gold) in the Department of Rosita in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) of Nicaragua.Every day he must travel 2 hours each both ways on a rocky dirt road in an old yellow school bus now retired and sold to serve remote parts of the world like this one.  The RAAN is among the most impoverished and remote regions of Nicaragua.  Limited resources leave the public education system with many challenges.

Marcos has received trainingon childhood behavior and sexual and reproductive health education from Acción Médica Cristiana(AMC) through their Community Health and Development Program. He is better equipped as a professor and community leader to educate his students.

Nicaragua has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the Latin American Region. In the RAAN, sexual and reproductive health educationis limited and culturally taboo.  Teen pregnancies are common and seen in girls as young as 13 years old.  Marcos says, “Thesexual and reproductive health workshops help me.  I have students that are about to go into high school and I can talk with them about these topics.”  He informs students of their sexual and reproductive rights. He provides reliable information about pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS prevention. He also creates a safe environment for young people to discuss their sexual and reproductive health. For many students Marcos is the only figure who will answer questions about such an important health theme. As a teacher Marcos is naturally challenged with classroom behavioral problems.  In workshops facilitated by AMC on childhood behavior Marcos has learned more about why these problems occur and how to deal with them.  Marcos states,  “I can more easily identify what could be the child’s problem.”  He continues, “AMC taught us to look for what factors are affecting the child.  For that we must communicate with them. We must ask them well thought-out questions. ” He explains, “A teacher must spend time with a troublesome student.  When a student has a problem and the teacheris too ridged the student’s behavior becomes worse.  With kids it’s better to have a conversation and build trust.”

One student in Marcos’s class was always restless.  He would act out by pushing and disruptingother students.  Marcos started engaging the child, “While having conversations with the student I saw that if I reprimanded him very harshly than he would not improve.”  Marcos learned that the student’s father had left home.  Marcos then understood what was affecting the child. Through communication Marcos and his student built up trust and respect.  Marcos told him to take advantage of his time in school, to behave well because hewas studying in order to improve and that soon he would grow up and need to help support his family.Marcos says, “He began to change.  He began to focus on his studies.”

Through workshops facilitated by AMC Marcos is more equipped as a professor to lead students and provide a more well-rounded education.  Marcos says, “A teacher needs many tools.”  These workshops take a huge step in multiplying knowledge that empowers teachers to be community leaders and to impart holistic education.
 
 

Alex Devoid was assigned to AMC as a Mission Intern of the United Methodist Church from August 2011 to January 2013. He spent several months in the RAAN interviewing and documenting stories to demonstrate the human impact of AMC's work. Link to more stories in left menu   Read Alex's missionary biography and his blog.