Showing posts from 2012

Happy Birthday Ella

Just returned home from delivering a birthday cake to Laguna Apoyo.Outside my job description I know, but these things come up from time to time.
A student group from Derby High, UK, has been painting the school at Pablo Antonio Cuadra.At the end of a week of hot hard work, they were spending today cooling off at the Laguna.Today was Ella’s 17th birthday and as a surprise for her, her friends arranged a birthday cake which I offered to pick up and deliver for them.A vividly colored work of art with ‘Felicidades Ella’ in bright pink.(The local bakery may have thought it a little strange to be inscribing the cake with what literally translates as ‘congratulations she’.)
I had three bonuses from the trip.That of helping a young lady, far from home, feel special on her birthday. (in later years she is going to forget the homesickness, and just love telling people she spent her 17th swimming in a volcanic crater lake in Nicaragua).
I had the joy of watching Nico swim for his ball in the Lagun…

''Be happy with the small achievements''

Volunteer Michael Schulmeyerabout his workfor la Esperanza Granada

How did you come to work at La Esperanza and what are you doing here? We were planning our round the world trip and wanted to do some volunteering during the trip for 2 months. We searched on the internet for organizations in Central America and stumbled across the La Esperanza page. We liked the concept and reviews and established contact with Pauline ... and here we are!
What was your education like? I am a computer scientist and I have a Master degree in Computer Science. I don't have any educational background and had never worked with little children before. I only taught a course at a University in Vietnam once before, which I enjoyed a lot. 
What has been your best experience working here?      After 5-6 weeks there are finally some kids who really want to work and appreciate the help that is offered. Especially that one boy, that is usually always hyperactive and aggressive, now really starts being interested and…

Chocolate dreams and city living

By past volunteer David Drezner In GranadaNicaragua, there is an isolated atmosphere of artificial leisure on Calle Calzada, an island of First world civilisation in a sea of small houses full of poorer people, replete with mariachi bands,  American and European cuisine,  European music, native hawkers, and continuously flowing booze. Surprisingly, the chocolate here is delightful and the ice cream is delicious.  Even the cheap commercial brands of ice cream have a rich flavour which enchants.  The city centre features ceramic tiled colonial adobe buildings, homes dating from the 19th century.  At night, all the homes in the centre of the city have open doors, all the better to bring the cool air into the house, while the inhabitants sit outside on wicker rocking chairs having quiet family and neighbourly chats. Poverty is an accepted part of Nicaraguan life, and it is reflected in Granada.  It isn’t unusual to see an expensive pickup truck parked next to a shanty house, or a horse a…

A new level of education

Pauline Jackson - Operations DirectorLa Esperanza Granada 

Where have you lived before you moved to Nicaragua?  I was born in the UK, then I lived in Canada and after that in Australia. My parents moved there so I moved with them.  I moved from England to Australia because of the climate. I still own a house in Australia which someone is renting from me.
Are you married, do you have children?
No, I’m not married and I don’t have children.

When did you make the decision to move to Nicaragua and why? Three months before I came here I was in Nicaragua for business. Then the founder, Bill Harper, died. I knew him before. After he died they asked me if I wanted to work for La Esperanza. Since the 25th of May  I’ve been  here for seven years.

What do you like about Nicaragua? I like the fact that we are doing something useful here. I think it is very important to do something for the children. The organization is running well. 

What do you like about your work and what do you not like? I like dif…

About our volunteer Svenja

I am Svenja Fillet from Belgium. I am volunteering for three months for La Esperanza and I am giving sport lessons at all the schools. My school in Belgium recommended La Esperanza.

I am studying to become a teacher of sports, it is 3 years in total and I am in my last year. I don’t think that you can compare it to the education here, because the education and also the job are totally different. It is way more relaxed and they don’t have to learn the same things as we learn in Belgium.

What I like about the work, is that  the kids come every single day to say hello to me, because they are so happy that there is a volunteer from another country to help them and to teach them different things. The challenging part, is the difference between cultures.

Besides my work, I like to go to the market, because every time it is an experience! If I had 24 hours left in Nicaragua, I would spend them at Isla de Ometepe. I really like the nature there and the many animals that you see. It is less …

Nataly wins a prize!

Nataly de la Concepción Hernández Flores
Nataly is six years old, in her house live six people. Her mother, Ivania del Carmen Flores, her father Fredy Ramon Torres, and three brothers and sisters.  Sister Daniela 10 years, Brother Wilfor 9 years and baby brother Varrilio, 6 months. The family would love to have wooden boards on the outside walls of the house, it is made with pieces of roofing iron, and that makes it very hot,.  They also wish it could be a little larger as it is very small. They only have one bed, without a mattress, where the mother and father sleep, and the children sleep together on a mat on the ground.  Nataly’s father abandoned them when she was in the womb, and now they have a stepfather Fredy.  Fredy works at the abatoir killing pigs.  Ivania is a housewife. Some other notes:  There is no job or work that Ivania can get, and Fredy’s work at the abatoir is a job where he is on call when there is work available, not a job with a regular salary. All three of the child…

Heavy work during a hot summer week!

Even the children from the Pablo Antonio school love to help the group during their break!

Builders Beyond Borders – Advisor Karen:

I am Karen Meyer (in the middle) from New York and I work as an advisor in the Builders Beyond Borders (B3). I became associated with B3 in 2010 while I was working at a Peace Corps Water & sanitation volunteer heading a project in Peru. I traveled with the April C-4 team to Ecuador in 2011.
The students that I work with are from different high schools in Connecticut and New York. Most of them heard exciting stories from friends or family who also worked for B3, and that is when they got interested.
The students do a great job, I never could imagine that they would work so hard! For the students this is a big difference compared to their own country. Some students even change their mind about their study plans for the future. I think it is a good experience for them to get to see something of a poor country. For example, a high school student that a…

Monthly Blogger Update - March 2012

Hola La Esperanza friends,
It’s that time of month again – your Blogger update from the volunteers! We’re so glad to share with you what we’ve been working on again this month, and have a lot to say. We are getting ready to head off all over Central America with Semana Santa coming, and will have vacations from March 30th to April 10th. Hopefully we’ll return well-rested (tan!) and ready for more work in the schools!
This month, we welcomed two groups who gave quite a hand in the schools. We had a new group from Builders Beyond Borders (B3) in the USA, who also helped us out in February, working on the new technical high school in San Ignacio. Although we have officially opened and have over 50 students currently enrolled in the school, the building was not yet quite complete. The B3 group finished off the construction of 3 final classrooms, one of which was an extra large room for technical courses which will help the students  for future careers. We also welcomed back carpentry stude…

La Esperanza Celebrities!

Two adventurous travelers, Hayley and Andy, just recently made a pit stop on their road trip of Central America to help out at La Esperanza Granada. And now we've hit the Aussie news!

Hayley and Andy appear in their local newspaper for their work with La Esperanza Granada
The two joined us for a little over 2 weeks as part of our Families for Families project, a program that allows families (or couples, or groups of friends) to raise funds and sponsor a local family for home repairs. Local families are selected from a raffle when students have perfect attendance (low attendance rates are a common problem of the education system) and make a list of possible home improvements. Depending on the financial contribution and needs of the families, volunteers then begin work on the house! 
The Guliteries family was living in a poorly ventilated one-room house, with plastic trash bags for walls and a low-hanging roof. Hayley, Andy, and a small group of hard working La Esperanza volunteers con…

Amazing new video!

We are so lucky for all of the support we recieve from volunteers, donors, and friends of the organization. A big thank you goes out to volunteer Nabila Amarsy who created this video to show the world what La Esperanza Granada is all about. Watch and see for yourself! And share with your friends!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer (which after that, who isn't?), send us an e-mail at: and come join us in making a change!

Inauguration of San Ignacio High School!

Last week on Feb. 27th, we celebrated a huge accomplishment for La Esperanza Granada... the opening of our brand new technical high school in San Ignacio! 
This project has been a long journey, supported by many generous individuals and groups. We broke ground December 31st, 2010, putting up fencing around a plot of land located just down the road from the primary school Nueva Esperanza. Over the years, thousands of dollars and many people have supported the project, from gathering funds to constructing latrines, building classrooms, and painting the buildings. Thanks to all of this hard work, we were able to officially open the high school for the 2012 school year with a class of over 50 students!
We of course celebrated the occasion with much happiness, appreciation, and gratitude! After the ribbon cutting, we welcomed words from early donors to the school, Karen Van Eijk and Tom Daniels as well as the group Amped for Education. Without the early support and enthusiasm of these donors…

Monthly Blogger Update

Greetings La Esperanza Granada friends,
We are excited to bring you our first Blog Edition of the Volunteer LEG E-Newsletter! As with our monthly e-mail newsletter, the Blogger Monthly Update gives you a quick view of our biggest highlights in the last month. We are just completing our first month of the 2012 school year and have many exciting updates to share with you.
We started classes on February 13th, and have been hard at work assisting in the primary schools, teaching English, and providing Computer classes to hundreds of students. This year, we are more in touch with the Ministry of Education than ever before and are pleased to be working so closely together to improve children’s education here in Granada. We are primarily teaching and tutoring in 4 primary schools right now: José de la Cruz Mena, Nueva Esperanza, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, and El Escudo. These schools are all located in very poor barrios of Granada and experience overcrowding and underfunding year after year. The pr…

La Esperanza History!

This week is a very special time for us here at LEG...

we're currently operating with 150 volunteers!

Counting all of our individual, group and Families for Families volunteers plus our volunteer-only Board of Directors and local Ayudantes, we have never had so many wonderful and enthusiastic people helping to support  our mission of improving children's education in Nicaragua. Many thanks to our volunteers, both past and present, who have worked so hard to make La Esperanza Granada the wonderful, thriving organization that it is today!

We are so happy to mark our upcoming 10 years with such an outstanding accomplishment!

Last day of Summer School

On Friday February 3rd, our volunteers celebrated the last day of summer school with their students at Nueva Esperanza primary school. After 2 months of hard work - planning, teaching, and tutoring over 100 students - the day was a joyous occasion filled with smiles, laughter, and lots of fun!

Anxiously awaiting the entertainment
Students and volunteers putting on a dance
The festivities lasted all morning and included live entertainment! One class put on a play, written by our very own volunteers and enjoyed by all. Other groups put on dance shows and even included a dance routine with the volunteers and their students. Later, students broke up into activities groups, playing games and three-legged races. We ended the day passing out goodbye gifts of candies, snacks, and schools supplies to all the students purchased with funds contributed by the volunteers and other gracious donors!
A pre-school student, smiling for the camera

Leaving summer school with a smile and prizes
We look forward…

Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Fink

Name: Anna Fink From: Bernsburg, Germany Volunteer time at La Esperanza: 6 months

Hot off the press

We have some wonderful new articles written by our very own volunteer, Lynda Smith. Lynda is a journalist from the UK and has been working with La Esperanza as a volunteer in one of our schools, Nueva Esperanza.

She has written 3 fantastic articles that highlight a few of the projects that La Esperanza supports. The first, Sponsorship and Scholarships: Maria Antonia's Story, features one of our very own ayudantes and does a great job of examining the difficulty of obtaining an education for many Nicaraguan children. She also writes about our Families for Families project in The house that Kathryn and Rick built, where two very generous volunteers came to Granada to complete a 12-day home improvement project for one of our local families. Finally, La Esperanza had the pleasure of taking our students on a school excursion at the end of their 2011 school year. Thanks to a major donation from the Body Shop Foundation, we took over 500 children to the zoo and had a picnic outing for th…

Thank you to our Westfield State University volunteers

La Esperanza Granada had the pleasure of welcoming back a group from Westfield State University (WSU), USA this month. For the last two weeks, students and staff from WSU worked with local builders to complete a new high school in the San Ignacio community and contributed over $7000 for building materials and construction. Together with last year's fundraising, Westfield has donated over $10,000 to the new high school building project! We hope to see the group back again next year!

You can read more about their volunteer and fundraising experience here.

Welcome to our new site!

It's a new year and La Esperanza Granada was in need of a new look! Please click around and check out the new site. You can follow us on Facebook, see our youtube videos, or look through pictures on picasa!