While the direct causality factor for the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu) epidemic claiming almost 70% of sugar cane cutters in Guanacastal Sur, Nicaragua, is still unknown, LIF is forced to concentrate relief efforts on providing the cutters' children with skill sets to find a job outside of the cane. By teaching the students English, we enable the next generation to find higher paying work with better conditions and avoid the epidemic so severely affecting their community and livelihoods.
Guanacastal Sur is an island in a sea of sugarcane fields, home to no job but cane cutting. Cutters work 12 hour days without proper protective equipment in dehydrating and unsafe conditions. The work has taken its toll: currently 68% of men contract and die from CKDu, most at an early age. While LIF investigates the cause of this devastating disease, affecting agricultural workers worldwide, we provide education so the youth can avoid the jobs rapidly claiming their families.
LIF offers English classes for 5th and 6th graders in the community, teaching basic English, noting those with extra drive, interest, and ability to learn. The English for a Chance program will continue instruction with these driven young adults after 6th grade. We will provide books, trained instructors, and multiple classes a week. After 2 years of English, the students will be able to attain safe jobs out of the fields and some offered a chance to teach Spanish via Skype with LIF.
Because boys often enter the fields after their fathers fall sick, most leave school after 6th grade. This limited education ensures jobs from the nearby city are still unreachable. English for a Chance will provide young men with skills desired in the city. They will be saving their lives and bettering their families through increased finances. After the first 10 students graduate, some will be offered teaching positions so the program can grow, giving chances to up to 30 students per year.
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).
La Isla Foundation's website