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EDUCATING FOR THE FUTURE

In most developing countries 70% percent of the population is under 30 years old. Most developing countries cannot expand economically fast enough to provide these young people an opportunity to participate meaningfully in the future. This makes better education one of the most important goals. We are part of a group that includes a local organization that works to offer more educational opportunities and the regional government education department. We want  to develop a distant learning project to bring the latest learning opportunities to remote schools. At the present time we are seeking a partnership with a major US School of Education to provide the needed expertise. This will be a demonstration project to test the effectiveness of distant learning in very remote communities.

USING EXISTING RESOURCES

Our strategy is to bring together the resources of organizations in the US with charity organizations in Nicaragua to make the best use of the resources that are available. For example, we were able to develop a joint project with the Indiana University Business School and a Fair Trade Art organization in Nicaragua. Graduate students from the university developed a complete marketing plan for the organization.

Keeping medical equipment repaired in poor countries is a major problem. Surveys reveal that as much as 50% of medical equipment is unusable because no one can repair it. Working with other organizations we have developed training programs in the past. Now we are interested in helping to develop a central web site where necessary repair information would be available to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

SOCIAL BUSINESS

A social business is a program that is set up and run like a business. All the profits go to support the charity’s work. The original investment is a gift to get the business going. Some of these are very large, and others are very small. The purpose is to move from charity to profit as a way of sustaining a program. One of the major benefits is that it gives people involved in the work control over the operation, and it empowers them to improve their lives. And if you are now making $2.00 a day, increasing your income to $4.00 a day is a great success. We are doing a demonstration project with sewing machines in three remote communities on islands. We want to learn how a group of women can improve the lives of their families by increasing their income. We would like to expand this to 25 communities. We would like to hear from you if you have an interest in this work.

LISTENING:

We are learning to listen! We always begin in a community with listening to what the people say about their needs and hopes. Our job is to help them develop their talents and abilities so they can meet their own needs. We believe the only lasting progress must come from the people themselves. This leads us into a variety of projects, from providing family water filters to giving books to schools, to providing children with rubber boots so they can walk to school in the raining season.

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