The Sheffield Estelí Society began in 1984 and was Estelí was officially recognised as a twin town of Sheffield in the constitution of Sheffield City Council in 1987. This timeline shows the key moments in the development of our twinning and a little about the context of the time it all began.
THE SANDINISTA REVOLUTION
The Sandinista Revolution triumphed in Nicaragua ending more than 50 years of dictatorship under the Somoza family. Almost immediately international volunteers began to offer help and support towards the reconstruction needed in the country.
EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY BRIGADES
The first European solidarity brigades arrived in Estelí to help with reconstruction- administering, co-ordinating and attending to these brigades required significant time and resources from Estelí local authorities.
EUROPEAN TWIN TOWNS
The President of the Reconstruction Committee of Estelí proposed that the European twin towns co-ordinate amongst themselves to enable better use of resources and avoid duplication of efforts.
THE FIRST MEETING
The first meeting of all the Europe-Estelí solidarity initiatives was held with the objective of co-ordinating in order to achieve better outcomes together than if one city was working in solitude.
1984 – 1987
Between 1984 and 1987 the five European cities became officially and constitutionally twinned at local municipal level with Estelí.
1986 – 1989
THE FIRST JOINT PROJECT
The first joint project was carried out between all the towns, to increase access to safe drinking water for the population of Esteli. In Sheffield in 1986 a week long festival of debate, music, poetry and comedy called ‘Splash!’ raised over £10,000 towards the project.
THE FIRST OFFICE
The first office to co-ordinate the twin towns’ efforts was opened in Estelíto support twinning relationships and projects.
FIRST TWO PEAKS BIKE RIDE
In Sheffield the first Two Peaks Bike Ride took place to raise money towards the reconstruction projects in Estelí. This ride has taken place every year ever since and is one of our main sources of fundraising each year.
1988 – 1992
SECOND JOINT PROJECT
The second joint project between the European twin towns was carried out- to extend and improve water sanitation and drainage in Estelí.
1991 – 1998
GROUPS IN SHEFFIELD
Groups in Sheffield begin to make individual links and to strengthen church to church, school to school type interactions between the twin towns.
1993 – 1999
JOINT AGROECOLOGICAL PROJECT
A joint Agroecological project is initiated in Miraflor, a nature reserve on the northern limit of Estelí, home to many small farming communities. The project aims to support organic production of coffee and other vegetables and fruit products.
1999 – 2005
Another joint project is begun after Hurricane Mitch causes extensive damage to homes and infrastructure in Estelí. This time the project is to support reconstruction efforts in the city, specifically house building.
STUDENT EXCHANGE VISIT
Students from Sheffield University and FAREM university in Estelí have their inaugural exchange visit with 8 students from Sheffield travelling to Estelí in June 2005 to carry out a 6 week intensive English language course for students at the university. They learn about Nicaraguan culture, cooking, language and join the Estelian students for a range of activities in the community. These visits have taken place every year since 2005 with the 10th anniversary visit planned for June 2015.
The new library is inaugurated in Estelí. It was built from funding raised in all of the twin towns including Sheffield and Estelí.
2008 – 2011
The European twin towns jointly supported various primary and secondary education projects in Estelí.
FREEDOM ROAD STREET PARTY
The first Freedom Road Street Party took place, bringing the twinning back to Sheffield with an increase in activities taking place here in order to raise awareness of the twinning and also to bring benefits to residents of Sheffield as the focus of the twinning shifts a little towards mutual learning and collaboration possibilities.
SON DE AMERICA
Son de America, the Sheffield based Latin American folk dance group collaborated with Sustainability Partners to raise funds for an emerging music group in Estelí. The event was used to raise awareness of the twinning.
2012 – 2014
YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN CIVIL SOCIETY
A further joint project was initiated in 2012 focusing on Youth Participation in Civil Society. The project was led by FUNARTE in Estelí and involved partners and similar activities in other European twin towns, including Praat Me, a mural painting project with children in Delft, Holland.
VISIT TO SHEFFIELD
The teacher from Los Angelitos, the newly formed social music project from Estelí made a visit to Sheffield and visited local schools and organisations as well as making a visit to the Lord Mayor, Sheffield Live and supporting Son de America at Holmfirth Festival of Folk.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE STUDENT
An English language student from Miraflor is received for a 6 week stay in Sheffield by Sheffield EstelíSociety. The visit and the English course is made possible by The NEST Trust, Students for Estelí and A Plus English.
FIRST ESTELÍ WEEK
Sheffield Estelí Society and Students for Estelí collaborate to run the first ever Estelí Week across the city. Events include cookery workshops, dance workshops, debates, film showings, poetry readings and a live link up concert with performances from Sheffield artists and those in Estelí on a live stream connection. The event is a big success and does a lot to continue to raise the profile of the twinning and help to bring the benefits to more people at grassroots level in both towns.
A 13 strong delegation of people travelled from Sheffield to Estelí to visit projects and colleagues in our twin town with the aim of understanding more about the 30 year twinning and stimulating new ideas and ways of collaborating and exchanging between our towns with the objective of nurturing the twinning for many years to come!
A Liquidambar tree is planted with help from students from Sheffield College, The Lord Mayor Councillor Peter Ripon and the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the UK, Guisell Morales-Echaverry. Sheffield City Council Community Forestry department make the planting possible and many people attend the event to see the friendship renewed between the two towns and commemorated in the symbolic planting of new roots and the possibility of future growth.
Launch of new website …