In May 2020 SBW Berlin gGmbH and Puente Nica e.V. formed an official partnership.

As of this year, SBW Berlin is funding the studies of one of Puente Nicas scholarship holders in Nicaragua. Another scholarship will be supported from next year on.

Initiator of this partnership is Abraham Delgado, one of our current scholarship holders in Berlin. He is also one of the founders of the Enrique Schmidt scholarship and has been supporting Puente Nica in the expansion of it.

We are very happy about this promising collaboration and have taken the opportunity to interview Puente Nica.

Anne Hahn (from SBW Berlin): Who is Puente Nica?

Lea Kern (from Puente Nica): Puente Nica e.V. is a non-profit association with 43 members that was founded in 2012. About half of Puente Nica members actively work on our board and/or one of our four task forces: Scholarships, Book Bus, Exchange and Public Relations. The members of Puente Nica work 100% voluntarily and are mostly former volunteers from projects in Nicaragua, as well as Nicaraguans who live in Germany.

Anne: How did the association come about?

Lea: The association was originally founded by 14 former German volunteers of the project “La Casita del Árbol” in Nicaragua. They continued to support local projects and maintained connections even after their volunteer social year.

Anne: What are you committed to?

Lea: Puente Nica e.V. is currently focusing on the following three areas:
● Financial and personnel support for educational and cultural projects in Nicaragua
● Awarding educational scholarships to talented and socially committed Nicaraguans
● Promotion of intercultural exchange: we offer socially committed Nicaraguans the opportunity to do voluntary service in Germany and we invite interested Germans to volunteer for our projects in Nicaragua.

Anne: Who are your supporters?

Lea: Our supporters are private individuals as well as public initiatives, parishes and companies. These include, for example, SBW Berlin, the “Initiative Teilen im Cusanuswerks e.V.”, NEPU e.V., the parishes of Friolzheim and Mönsheim, the “Deutsche Umwelthilfe” (German environmental aid) and many more.

Anne: What plans do you have for the future?

Lea: Over the next few years we will work on increasing the number of our scholarship holders in order to expand the scope of the scholarship. In the long term, we would like to extend the scholarship program to younger and older target groups so that we can offer both school scholarships and scholarships for vocational in-service training.

Anne: Why was the Enrique Schmidt Scholarship instituted?

Lea: The Enrique Schmidt scholarship was initially founded independently of Puente Nica e.V. by a group of Nicaraguan students in Germany. The namesake is Enrique Schmidt Cuadra, a German Nicaraguan DAAD scholarship holder in Cologne, who was involved in the German solidarity movement with Nicaragua during the Somoza dictatorship. Since Puente Nica e.V. already offered a scholarship program, we decided in 2014 to combine the two initiatives in order to make the best possible use of human and financial resources and to learn from the respective experiences.

Anne: What do you hope for from the cooperation with SBW Berlin?

Lea: We look forward to cooperating with a foundation that is committed to making marginalized people’s access to education easier – like us. Thanks to this cooperation we can expand our scholarship program and thus work together for inclusive, equitable and high-quality education.

Anne: Who should our readers contact if they want to collaborate with you?

Lea: We are always very glad about interested parties and supporters. The best way to reach us is via our website www.puentenica.com under or via the email address kontakt@puentenica.com.