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Rising Voices: The Flowing River
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Rising Voices: The Flowing River
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Rising Voices: Moving Forward
David Zamora Munoz attends a UNICEF-sponsored child-friendly school in Nicaragua. While many of its defining characteristics are things kids in developed countries take for granted -- gender equality, running water, a friendly atmosphere -- in Nicaragua the school is being seen as a model for the future of the country's education system.
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Produced by UNICEF and the Public Affairs Media Group.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Rising Voices
TITLE
The Flowing River
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
My name is David Zamora Munoz. I am 10 years old. I live in Punto Arena, and I like it a lot.
TITLE
Palacaguina, Nicaragua
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
It is really pretty. There are trees, and animals such as hens, dogs, cows, bulls. I live with my mother, my father, my two brothers, and me right here. Our house is really tidy. We have nice things. Every day I have to walk to get to my studies at school. It takes me an hour to walk to school. I look at the trees, the birds, everything around us: parakeets, magpies, great-tailed grackles, and white doves. My school, The Little River, is a Child Friendly School. I like everything about it, the garden ... I like everything there. I feel really good with my friends who are there. We don't fight because we are all friends, and we all study together in the same school.
CHILDREN
Hail to thee, Nicaragua. On thy land roars the voice of the cannon no more. Let peace shine beautiful in thy sky.
TITLE
El Riito Elementary School, 65 students, Child Friendly School since 2002
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
This is my teacher. Her name is Angeles Karina Garcia Cruz. She is great with us. She teaches us a lot. She teaches us with kindness, love, and respect. She is respectful with all of us.
SIGN
School is my second home
ANGELES KARINA GARCIA CRUZ [Teacher]
For me, a Child Friendly School is one that provides all that children need physically to be students, including a pleasant atmosphere where the walls speak.
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
This is my headmaster. His name is Yader Jose
YADER JOSE CRUZ [Headmaster, El Riito School]
This school is totally different from other schools today, because others don't have all the accessibility we have. This school is committed to gender equality and the inclusion of children with special needs. It does everything to provide a caring, high-quality education. Another of the components this school has is that we have running water. We teach personal health and hygiene so that the children wash their hands, because later they will go over to the kitchen and get their lunch. They have all been taught to use soap and a towel after they've used the bathrooms.
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
Before we eat, we have to wash our hands, because when you play you get dirty, and then if you eat without washing, you can get sick.
YADER JOSE CRUZ
The first thing you see when you come through the school gate is the wheelchair-accessible ramp. We have here another ramp that leads to the bathrooms, where we have two sets of toilets, one for the girls and another for the boys. This is the only school around here that has all the components that together make a Child Friendly School and has a sanitary environment.
MARTA [Parent Body President]
I am the school parent body president, and I am a mother who's very involved in the school. The mothers are part of the school, and they run the food committee. She is here today because it is her turn. The mothers prepare the food from Monday to Friday. Today is not my day, but I always am here, involved with the activities that are going on. This is chicken liver. We're cooking it with potatoes and white cabbage. She chopped the cabbage to add it to the chicken, so we bulked it up with two types of vegetable, potatoes and cabbage.
WOMAN [Mother]
Come get a tortilla!
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
The food is very good. I like what we ate today, and other delicious things.

Segment 2

YADER JOSE CRUZ
The people here are poor, but what there is here is so much love for the community and for the school, and they want their children to get ahead in life, that's why they are so organized, but in real terms they are poor. It isn't that people here have many chances. We can find houses here made out of mud. The good living conditions that you could have in a city are not offered here. Here, life is basic: people work to scrape together a daily living.
MAN
And to stop, you push the red again. Now, film Robbie.
TITLE
Children's footage.
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
I'm going to record this. My mom's ironing. This is my dad. This is my dog. He's called Savage. These are my kittens, Dolly and Cutey. This is my brother Francisco. He's 11 years old. This is my brother Deybin, and he's 12 years old. My father is 61 years old. He's a tenant farmer. I like to help him gather the corn we grow. I help him. We help him to finish more quickly so that we don't waste any time. My mom works here in the kitchen and takes care of everything. When we come home from school, she is always working here and has food ready so that we can eat right away. She prepares everything for us. Almost every day they give us homework. It is nice to finish it.
CELESTINO ZAMORA MUNOZ [David's father]
The children's studies are really important to me because they are more advanced than we were at their age. They have more knowledge of the sciences.
FRANCISCO ZAMORA MUNOZ [David's brother]
This is the universe.
CELESTINO ZAMORA MUNOZ
Their schooling is so different from mine because we were exposed to so little. I was one of eight children, nine, ten with my parents. My father was a farm worker like me. I followed in his footsteps, pretty much: working six in the morning until six at night. I didn't do much in the way of studies. I didn't like it. It weighs on me now. I see there are ways to get ahead, and life is difficult for me. I am learning from my sons, though. They teach me words. They say to me, "Papa, you missed something here," "Papa, you left out a little dot there." They correct me. I learn words from what they tell me. They tell me how to write words. I tell them there's a better life, not one with a machete, not farm work, different work, that in their lifetime they will be able to earn more than I do. All that I earn from one day's pay here, I spend. I imagine they say they are going to study and then work. They'll decide when they're older what they want to do. I give them the word of God. I work as a missionary. Today, we have a week of community Bible study. A whole week.
CECILIA ROSA MUNOZ [David's mother]
One of them says he wants to do the same kind of work as his father. One of them says he'd like to study to be a doctor. Another says he would like to be a musician for the choir in the Catholic Church. They are very studious. They are fascinated by their studies. They never want to miss a day of school because they say they will miss some of the subjects that are taught.
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
Quiet, quiet. We sleep here. This is where the three of us sleep, my two brothers and me, and my mom and dad sleep here.
FRANCISCO ZAMORA MUNOZ
Shine the light on the Virgin, Deybin!
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
I like sharing a bed with my brothers because we snuggle up the three of us, and also I like it a lot because we're not quiet in bed. We chat about what we are learning at school and stuff like that. She gets up at four in the morning to make our breakfast.

Segment 3

FRANCISCO ZAMORA MUNOZ
"Goodbye, and lots of love."
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
This is my brother Francisco's teacher, Consuelo.
FRANCISCO ZAMORA MUNOZ
"Signed, Francisco Jose Zamora Munoz."
CONSUELO OLIVAS JOYA
[Francisco's teacher]: A Child Friendly School is one that provides an education with quality and warmth. A child that attends a different kind of school has a different kind of childhood. Before, there were not the opportunities they have now, because it was very difficult to go to school. Now, education is free. Does anyone think there is enough water in this river? Look at all that empty space over there. They have a lot of support now. They are given pencils and exercise books and so on. And our Ministry of Education helps out by giving desks and books. Conditions are better. Before, the school wasn't like it is now, it was small, a long time ago it was made of clay, then it was rebuilt, with big classrooms and all the facilities we have now.
CHILD 1 [Student]
They don't bite, do they?
CHILD 2 [Student]
Yes, they do.
CONSUELO OLIVAS JOYA
Before, there was no drinking water, no sinks. It was a little school, and now it's not. It's big with everything that children need. The children have the opportunity to express themselves freely and to say what they think. It is a way of life not only for the pupils but the teachers, too. I'm really happy working here. It's my first year in the school. We work hard, and because it is a Child Friendly School you cannot be the kind of teacher who's a clock-watcher. We stay on in the afternoons to work with the children, and with the parents. I feel really relaxed and satisfied working here.
KARINA [David's teacher]
Is everyone drawing a picture? What does the dove mean to you?
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
Nature.
KARINA
Yes, nature, what else?
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
We are studying with my teacher. We have classes in civics and social studies.
KARINA
Are we better off in Nicaragua today? Is there discord? What is life like now? We are united, the country has united, and what do we call this? What does the white dove mean? The white dove is a sign of peace, freedom. We live now in a time of peace and freedom, and we have freedom of expression. Your picture is very pretty. What have you learned in this class?
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
We are preserving the traditions of Nicaragua.
KARINA
We are preserving our traditions. What else have you learned?
CECILIA ROSA MUNOZ
The government has made a difference. There's been a lot of special programs. They've made a lot of changes. Everything today is so different. Everything has changed. When I was little, we lacked a lot of things. School wasn't like it is now. Today, the schools are very nice, and the children have fun. There is more love in the school.
ANYOLI SANABRIA LOPEZ [UNICEF Education Specialist]
In a country as poor as Nicaragua and in communities as poor as this one, education is very important. Education is a key factor in helping people get out of poverty, and the Child Friendly Schools, we believe, are contributing to achieving this.
NERYS DEL ROSARIO RODRIGUEZ VIDEA [Municipal Delegate, Ministry of Education]
Using this school, we have begun to extend the model to other schools, so we took the teachers that established it as a Child Friendly School, with the Ministry of Education's authorization, and we transferred the teachers to another school. The teacher who was here at this school with a mixed-grade class went to be the principal of another school with 1,000 students. So we are scaling up the model. We are able to put into practice in other schools the achievements we are getting in this Child Friendly School. We are very interested in quality and warmth in education, because that is our goal.
ANYOLI SANABRIA LOPEZ
Historically, self-esteem is not something that has been part of the culture in Nicaragua, and poverty limits people's views. This kind of school sets out to release all of the children's potential, to get them to believe in themselves and in their abilities, and to realize their dreams. We believe that a school like this one is doing just that.
DAVID ZAMORA MUNOZ
I want to be a doctor or a teacher, whichever would be the easiest to accomplish and to learn later on. Being a doctor is good because you learn about diseases and you can help your family. You can give them medicines for the illnesses they have. If they have a headache, you can give them a little pill to make them better. Before, we didn't know anything about our bodies, about the land, the world. I can't imagine life without school, because we wouldn't learn anything. We wouldn't know if there were cars, cows, and other countries. We wouldn't have any knowledge of these things. We wouldn't know anything. Life without our school would be terrible. It is great to study so that we can learn more, and there will always be things we can learn in the future.
TITLE
[end credits]