“Project Ezra” (taken from a famous Biblical educator-Ezra 7:10) was initiated in 1986 during a time of war in Nicaragua as a response to a desperate refugee situation.
A war that erupted in 1980 along the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua between the Sandinista government and their Cuban, Russian, and Bulgarian "advisors" and the local indigenous population of Miskitos, Suma, Rama, and Creoles resulted in over 60,000 refugees fleeing to neighboring Honduras. These refugees settled along the Kruta River, and the Honduran side of the Coco River, which is one of the most remote corners of the Western Hemisphere, accessible only by air, boat, and foot.
By 1986, most of these refugee children had been without education for five or more years. It was then that Augusto Vicente, a refugee teacher, asked us for help in starting a school for the refugee kids in Sawa.
We supplied them with notebooks and pencils, and together with Sofia Borst, Augusto began teaching classes in Sawa. That year, Sharon and Earl Washburn arrived in a Honduran village name Auka near the Nicaraguan border where Truman Cunningham, Michael Bagby, and others had set up a relief distribution center to help Miskito Indian refugees from the Sandinista war in Nicaragua. They spent a month training four adults and established schools in four villages. Michael traveled to Tegucigalpa to find school books. There he met Victoria Palacios, a professor of education at the National University, who volunteered to help train the “Project Ezra” teachers.
With Victoria’s curriculum and training help, along with invaluable assistance from Earl & Sharon, Ron Bross, John Freyer, Debbie Cash, Elia Mejia, and others, Project Ezra expanded over the next year to include 12 villages and employ 24 Miskito Indian teachers. Damacio used a blackboard, and Victoria Palacios textbooks to teach the first and second grade.
A few years after this photo, Damacio was bathing in the ricer when he was bitten by a fer-de-lance snake, which is one of the most deadly venomous creatures in existence. Damacio’s wife took his place teaching, and continues to teach in Sawa today! In 1990, the war ended in Nicaragua, and Humberto Belli, the new Minister of Education, invited Project Ezra o to become part of the Nicaraguan public school system. We accepted, and now Seek The Lamb has official charge of education in seven communities along the lower Rio Coco.
Our school project employs over 50 teachers and administrators, teaching grades K thru 12, in one of the most remote corners of the Western Hemisphere. Yet our students have achieved academic levels equal to or better than most of the students in Nicaragua! This is because of our constant supervision, teacher training, and most of all the spiritual emphasis of our curriculum.
We begin each day teaching the Bible in the native language, Miskito.
In addition, our teachers have a personal interest in this project as over most of our teachers began their education as first graders in Project Ezra schools in the 80’s and 90’s! This year, Project Ezra is educating over 1600 students, grades Kinder thru 12th. This is all possible through many prayers, and financial support to Seek The Lamb through donations, sponsorship of children and teachers, and profits from Rio Coco Bean coffee sales.
Photo: Truman, Michael, Onofre & Augusto in Jerusalem, 1997
Our Project Ezra leadership team is well educated, tri-lingual, and well traveled.