An Interview with HCT Coordinator, Cris Rojás

Cris teaching an HCT workshop
Cris teaching an HCT workshop

León, Nicaragua

Cristhian Abel Rojas Niño is ViviendasLeón’s (VL) program director for the organization’s Human Capacity Training program (HCT). Rojas grew up in the municipality of Malpaisillo, in the department of León, Nicaragua. He is the youngest of five brothers. Rojas holds a degree in Social Work and Development Management from the Faculty of Education Sciences and Humanities, at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-León). He has an interest in anthropological studies, and enjoys exploring the various ways peoples of differing cultures live world-wide. 

“I first liked social work because in my community I saw the difficulties and lack of resources within the school system. Another challenge was the distance (from residents’ homes to school) that limits good attendance in the school. I always dreamed of having knowledge in helping communities…to contribute to helping the poor especially in the city of León” 

Gaining experience and training
Rojas aims to truly understand distinct kinds of people, or groups of people, in differing family or living situations as well as ensuring their access to quality health, educational, and relief services. 

After completing his degree at UNAN-León, Cristhian participated in a psychosocial survey and intervention for the “Walter Ferreti” neighborhood in León, carrying out an analysis of public health for the prevention of diseases. By 2015, Rojas completed two diplomas, one with the Spanish Red Cross for human rights and the other with the León Zaragoza Sister City on organizational development methodologies. 

Cristhian  joins ViviendasLeón
In 2017, Rojas began working with ViviendasLeón.  From 2017 to 2018 Rojas gave trainings to community leaders in Goyena, and continued work with VL into 2019, when the national political crisis began.

“My first experience with VL meant a step (forward) and a wonderful life experience, since I was a recent graduate of the school of Social Work and personally from within me I wanted to put into practice all that knowledge that my university teachers had taught me.”

“I became part of the organization's team and coordinator of the Community Empowerment program, and I also attended and gave motivational and attitudinal guidelines for all the participants of the VL programs. I had the opportunity at that time to exchange experiences and get to know the profile of the students from delegations that visited the office and communities where VL has programs and projects, all of them coming from schools and universities in the United States and specifically from San Francisco, California.”

Cristhian views his experiences with VL to have been rewarding, as the organization allowed him to contribute his knowledge and to collaborate with families and youth in rural Nicaraguan communities.

“…it was a wonderful experience that I was given to share knowledge with all the women and men in the field who are the ones who are integrated in, and participate fully in the programs. I also worked with many young people who, like me, who dream of having a better future for their families, but like many, also struggle with external obstacles and lack of opportunities in their own communities.”

Within VL’s HCT program, Rojas designed, coordinated and implemented educational projects for adolescent boys and girls in León, including topics of sex education, drug prevention, nutrition, and workshops on public health and well-being. 

Rojas highlights the aims and significance of the HCT program’s teen sexual health course he was leading:

“The objective of this program was to educate and raise awareness about sex education with basic scientific knowledge and (to clarify) a series of myths about sexuality…working on these sexuality issues in rural areas is a complicated issue, since the educational system in our country does not have a specific subject where sexuality education is addressed...information that reaches young people about sexuality comes from unclear and informal sources, and they have erroneous concepts full of myths and taboos to know their own body (sexuality).”

Rojas shares the following areas that he excelled in while working with VL:

“…marketing and fundraising, accounting and budgeting, conducting training for scholarship program participants, developing and organizing projects and programs, analyzing project and program results, researching new methodologies to support professional development, (and) establishing partnerships with other government agencies and institutions to help achieve program objectives.”

Cris rejoins ViviendasLeón in 2021
Since recently rejoining VL’s team, Rojas continues to work towards current and future beneficial projects. 

“Currently I am again part of this wonderful organization that opened the doors for me to develop and I am the coordinator of the Community Strengthening Program. I also have the mission of developing strategies in the search for small business ideas to be implemented in the communities of Goyena and Troilo. Another mission I currently have is to raise, improve and help the self-esteem of all the participants of the programs.”

“It fills me with joy and pride that ViviendasLeón contributes to personal, family and community development in the rural areas where it implements the projects.”

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