The Centro Cultural of Batahola Norte is a technical training and holistic education project for women and youth based in Managua. Founded in 1983 by Fr. Ángel Torrellas, OP, and S. Margarita Navarro, CSJ, our mission is to empower and transform our students and our community. Over the past 24 years we have helped over 2,000 women and youth defend their rights, find and develop new sources of income, and improve their living standards. We currently offer a varied program of basic adult education and vocational training that is approved by the National Technological Institute (INATEC) and coordinated with the Ministry of Education (MECD). Approximately 500 students enroll in around 20 technical and arts courses each year.
Technical courses include:
- basic adult education
- computer science
- natural medicine
Art programs include:
- music lessons
- painting and drawing
- dance (contemporary and folkloric)
- Library open to the public
- Scholarship program supporting over 130 students (primary through university levels)
- Weekly Mass
The Centro Cultural provides a rich environment conducive to learning, with projects including a scholarship program to help young people continue their formal education and a 5,000-volume library open to the public. We also seek to support the healthy development of young people through the arts, offering classes and performance opportunities in folkloric dance, music, painting, and theater. Since 1994 we have enabled more than 100 young people from poor families to finish their studies (primary through university levels) and become trained professionals, including lawyers, doctors, translators, social workers, journalists, business administrators, physical therapists, engineers, and musicians.
Nineth has been involved in the CCBN since she was 8 years old. She attributes much of her formation to founders Angel and Margarita and credits them with teaching her responsibility and how to stand up for herself. Currently, she teaches music, marimba, and guitar lessons at the CCBN, as well as being a painter and teaching painting with the CCBN's violence prevention outreach project in another neighborhood.
Melvin just completed his degree in systems engineering at the National Engineering University. Supported throughout his college career by a CCBN scholarship, his social service included library assistance, tutoring with younger scholarship students, and giving mural tours. He shares that his experience with tutoring students taught him the important role art can have in children's lives, and how important it is to focus on the spiritual and social impact of his work.
Ana is a current scholarship recipient who studies public financing and accounting. She spends her social service hours in the library. A Story Hour leader, Ana makes possible and witnesses countless transformations in the young participants. She enjoys the opportunity to put herself in the children's shoes and work with them on their personal development.
Samuel is a choir member, painting student, and key marimba player at the CCBN. He shows a fiery passion when he plays, one that impresses crowds and livens the weekly Mass.
Gerardo, current painting teacher and muralist at the CCBN, grew up at the CCBN and also attributes much of his formation to his experiences here. He has painted many murals in Nicaragua, and has also painted a mural in Pennsylvania at Bucknell University. His latest mural at the CCBN focuses on what brings joy to life, including education, food and water, art, and air.
Alejandra is the natural medicine teacher at the CCBN. In her course, students learn that the natural world offers everything that humans need to stay healthy. Instead of finding cures that only treat the symptoms and inevitably cause other harms, natural medicine uses a holistic approach to truly heal its patients. This effectiveness fascinates Alejandra, and she pairs psychology with her practice of natural medicine for a unique approach that allows her to help heal the emotional problems that are causing her patients’ physical distress.
Lourdes is a member of the CCBN's advanced dance group and also completed the cashiering class last year. Growing up in a neighborhood known for its violence, she got involved with the CCBN through their violence prevention outreach project. She hopes to continue on to university and study systems engineering.