English and a chance to live past 35

by La Isla Foundation

Through the generous support of Global Giving, La Isla Foundation was able to open English classes to 5th and 6th graders in the La Isla community in rural Nicaragua.  As their school year draws to a close at the end of this month, the dramatic change in our students is more than could ever be imagined.

All students in our classes are now holding begining conversations in English, enough to introduce themselves and meet someone new.

Joselyn, a student whose father had died from working conditions just months before school started, came out of her shell through English classes and has begun to not only participate in classes, but participate in the school yard fun activities as well.

Boys who in the begining of the year talked about their futures in the fields now report desires for better jobs and better treatment in the work place.

Students, through out presentations, are not just gaining a knowledge of different oppotrunities and livelihoods, but gaining an appreciation of choice.

The purpose of these classes were to train rural, underprivilated children in English and prepare them for jobs in offices and away from the field work that has taken the lives of their fathers and brothers.  As we've seen through the school year, it has done so much more than that.  These children are given an opportunity to improve not only the length of their lives, but the quality as well.

We greatly appreciate the support we have recieved this year through the Global Giving campaign and are excited to see how far it continues to take out participants in the upcoming years.

Five months into the 2013 English Program and LIF is expanding its reach.  After two successful units of English class to over 50 kids in 5th and 6th grade, this last month launched the start of the adult English tutoring program.  Twice a week after the primary school breaks for the day, young adults gather in the schoolhouse with a La Isla Foundation teacher and start basic English tutoring, all aiming to increase English skills and self-confidence in education enough to apply for English classes at the local trade school in February.  These classes will be co-sponsored by LIF and the trade school, allowing for the relationships LIF has with the rural communities to combine with the trade school’s experience in teaching and nationally renowned certifications.  As the years go on, the Kids English classes will feed into the adult English classes, creating a group of LIF graduates truly ready to enter formal education and gain certification in a skill that will help them attain jobs away from the deadly cane fields.

On behalf of La Isla Foundation, the local trade school here in Chichigalpa, 50 young students and a growing number of adult students, I thank all of you who have donated over the last couple months.  This program would not be so successful if it wasn’t for your help.  Becuase of the generous donations recieved for English classes, the alternative education program designed to keep youth out of the field and therefor safe from the disease riddling the agriculutural workers in their region is growing strongly every day.

Sign up for a recurring donation here:


6th grade class
6th grade class

Coming to the end of Unit 1 for both 5th and 6th grade English classes, we asked the kids why they want to learn English.  Each one wrote down a couple sentences describing their personal motivation.

“I want to learn English because, maybe, when I’m big I can go to another country where they speak English, I can talk to them and understand them. And maybe even teach it to other people.”
-Kimberly, 6th grade

“This is the way to find better jobs.”
-Eliezer, 6th grade

“I want to be a doctor- this is why it is important to learn English.”
-Escarleth, 5th grade

“So that I can go to highschool and learn even more.”
-Jubelka, 5th grade

“So that I can work in an office.”
-Kelvin, 5th grade

The responses, all given by 5th and 6th graders, were very much work and education themed.  The students of El Soccoro school in rural Nicaragua, although young, are looking to find a life better than those they observe around them.  This summer LIF will partner up with the local government-sponsored trade school to provide our alumni with highschool-level English certificates upon completion of their courses.  La Isla Foundation plans to build the English program with each year, giving a growing number of students the opportunity to continue education and obtain jobs outside of the cane fields.

Our 6th grade class of 12 and 13 year olds celebrate a good-bye party for one of their volunteer English teachers as well as the end of unit 1.  The basics finally under their belt, the class is excited to continue building their knowledge of the English language and discover the opportunities it brings.

We want to thank you for being a part of their education. For investing in their future and helping nurture their desire for knowledge. As our students know, education leads to opportunities, in turn offering a chance out of the cycle of the CKDu epidemic. Thank you for supporting La Isla Foundation and supporting the children of Guancastal Sur. Please consider sharing this project or supporting our other projects.



Thank you for your support, together we raised $6,065 that we are using to expand our English program in La Isla and surrounding communities, including helping Ismara continue her English education. We enjoy watching her learn more every week and helping her build the skills she needs for a future.

Education is a main part of our mission for a couple of reasons. We want to give as many kids as possible alternative opportunities to working in the cane fields. LIF believes that everyone should have a healthy job and not have to worry about getting chronically sick before 30. We also want encourage them to dream and strive for personally and professional goals they’ve set themselves.

Delania is a 13 year old girl already taken out of school to help her mother care for her sick sons.  She has lost her father and 3 grandparents to the epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease and now is watching her brothers also fall to the illness.  Without education or opportunities for work, she will follow in her mother’s footsteps as nurse to sick and dying loved ones.  Delania is an extremely bright girl always asking for opportunities to learn.  With the funds raised, we will be able to launch an Advanced English Education program and include Delania in language development and job placement so she will be able to break the cycle of poverty and sickness for the next generation of her family.

To support Delania in her fight against a cycle of poverty and death, you can donate to our project or sign up for a recurring donation. Donating to this project will help youth in this community find alternative jobs from the agricultural work causing the CKDu Epidemic in this community.

Sign up for a recurring donation here: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/english-life/?show=recurring

Thank you for your support! We couldn’t do this without you!


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Organization Information

La Isla Foundation

Location: Ada, Michigan - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.laislafoundation.org/​
Project Leader:
Katie Stark
Community Education Coordinator
Leon, Leon Nicaragua

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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