Today is National Higher Education Day! This day is used as a platform to encourage young students to pursue higher education, and to promote ways to tackle the challenges of receiving a degree. Here at LtN, promoting education is our priority, as the majority of the communities we work with struggle to access quality education from a young age.
In Nicaragua, the concept of higher education is almost mystical. UNICEF reports that 29% of males, and 30.5% of females in Nicaragua never even attend primary school (elementary through 6th grade). The numbers only get worse as children age - with a staggering 65% of boys and 58% of girls not continuing on to secondary school (6th grade through high school).
Higher education is not a reality for many, as most cannot afford costs and Nicaraguan universities that are free are extremely competitive, offering limited spots. These challenges are compounded by the pressure boys receive to work instead of attending school so that they can support their families, and the assumption that girls will stay at home to watch younger siblings and take care of the house. Moreover, many young girls struggle to stay in school due to teen pregnancy - Nicaragua has highest rate of teenage births in Latin America and the highest in the world outside of Africa.
Student who participate in our lacrosse programs are some of the few who receive encouragement to pursue higher eduction. LtN's programs use sport as a motivator for kids to attend and to do well in school. Through LtN's scholarship program, students' are eligible to receive school supplies and uniforms. This program relieves pressure on families to tackle the costs of sending their kids to school.
Through our LtN Scholar program, those who display exemplary behavior, are leaders on the field, and work at their studies have the opportunity to become an LtN Scholar. As an LtN Scholar, students work for LtN as a coach so that they can still support their families while attending university classes to continue their education. This way, our scholars are able to take the time to complete their degree, move out of the lacrosse world into a professional career, and become a resource and a role model within their communities.
We would like to take this day to acknowledge our incredible LtN Scholars in Nicaragua and all of the hard work and dedication they put in, not only to developing young lives through our programs, but taking initiative to better their own situations and pursue their full potential. Join us in celebrating our amazing scholars on this year's National Higher Education Day: