The Spanish Advanced Topics Class is currently selling “pulseras,” hand-woven bracelets for five dollars during all lunch periods.
The Pulsera Project is a nonprofit organization in which all proceeds go directly to Nicaraguan families, encouraging them to obtain jobs outside of factories and sweat shops in order to help them move out of poverty. Nicaraguans create these culturally-enriched bracelets and sell them to schools in other countries. The participating schools then sell the pulseras.
Spanish teacher Ms. Lauren Baylor brought the project to Mt Hebron three years ago, when she began teaching at this school.
“I was looking for a fun project to do with Spanish Club, and I thought this would be a great idea to expose students to the reality of life outside Howard County,” said Ms. Baylor, who has now worked the project into her Spanish Advanced Topics class.
The class spent two weeks preparing for the sale, which started April 11. Mt. Hebron purchased 800 pulseras from Nicaragua and hopes to sell all of them during lunch shifts until tomorrow. The pulseras are made for all genders and ages.
“They vary in shape and design,” said senior Evan Chen, who is also in Ms. Baylor’s class.
Two years ago, Mt. Hebron’s chapter of the program sold $2,100 worth of pulseras, followed by a total of $2,300 sold last year. This year, Ms. Baylor hopes to surpass their goal.
“The project was so successful, in fact, that the co-founders invited me along with seven other teachers who have had equally successful sales to accompany them to Nicaragua last summer to see how much of an impact the sales [have had on] the makers of the pulseras,” said Ms. Baylor.
In Nicaragua, Ms. Baylor endured an eye-opening experience when she came across 18-year old Marcelino. One year ago, Marcelino lived in a house made of scraps.
“Eighty percent of Nicaraguans have less than $2 a day to spend on food, shelter, and other basic necessities,” stated Ms. Baylor.
But after 12 months of working with the Pulsera Project, the nicest home in the village was constructed for Marcelino as a reward for his hard work towards the project.
This experience is one that the Spanish Advanced Topics class is not taking for granted.
“Nicaragua is the world’s second poorest country [in Latin America], behind Haiti,” senior Jason Fang said, who is in Ms. Baylor’s class. “It feels great knowing that I’m making a difference. I already knew that poverty was very prevalent, but this project puts things into perspective.”