ICAS/Juntos Adelante is proud to have provided scholarships to train twenty nurses through the generous support of many individuals and the Julia Burke Foundation. In 2008 Ramona Alfaro, the head of nursing in Esteli approached ICAS/Juntos Adelante with a dilemma and an idea. Esteli had a shortage of nurses in rural areas, most nurses were from the city and preferred to stay in the cities. Those who did move to rural communities tended to move back to the city. Ramona's idea was train individuals from rural communities, many of whom were already volunteering as "brigadistas" (health outreach workers) as community health nurses to then go back and work in their home communities. A diverse group of women and men were selected who wanted to continue to live and work in their local rural communities in the municipality of Esteli.
Ramona worked with the local university to develop the curriculum and designed the program to build the capacity of nursing professionals in rural areas where access to care suffers due to lack of trained personnel. All participants had wanted to pursue higher education however lacked the means to do so. All participants also have deep ties to where they live and were eager to return to serve their communities. The government run public health center had promised jobs upon graduation. They completed their training in December 2009.
Again, thank you to everyone who supported this program!