BPP San Juan del Sur was the first location of BPP International. It is located in a quiet tourist town in the Southwest Pacific of the country. Its beautiful beaches and friendly atmosphere have brought many adventurers, some who decide to stay and call San Juan del Sur their home.
La Escuela Integral and the start of BPP
La Escuela Integral, also known as the Casa de Cultura, was owned by former Nicaragua dictator, Anastasio Somoza, which he occupied as a vacation home for his mistress. During the revolution, the Sandinistas took control of the house and handed it over to the Association for Cultural Promotion (APC). Soon after, it was converted into a school and cultural center, offering Art, Dance and Music classes to children. However, due to lack of funding, for many years the cultural center was uninhabited. In February 2009, the Barrio Planta Project (BPP) began providing free English and Art classes to the community, which were initially held in the local library. The library was small and as BPP’s classes grew, it began to monopolize the once studious and tranquil atmosphere. When Denis Calderon, a resident of Barrio La Planta and caretaker of La Escuela Integral, heard of this dilemma from his daughter who was receiving English classes, he promptly offered La Escuela Integral free of charge. This was monumental in the growth and sustainability of the project. He had given us a school!
In February 2010, with a growing student body of over one hundred students, BPP launched its second year of classes. With a little bit of funding and a lot of labor, staff and volunteers cleaned out four rooms in the building for a pre-school level, Beginner ESL and Beginner Advanced ESL classes to be held simultaneously, in addition to an office. The Escuela Integral has finally become what it once was and has always been meant to be—a building where the community is able to come to celebrate culture, learn a second language and be inspired to express themselves through various forms of art, music and dance. BPP is extremely grateful to the APC for this incredible space.