24 augustus 2013

La Esperanza Granada - Who? What? Where? How?

For those who've just decided to have a look at this blog, I would like to introduce the NGO that I am currently working with: La Esperanza Granada. Two years ago, I completed an internship with them and in those three months I spent in Granada, I only got a small taste of what this organization does, who's involved, how they work and where they are present. On August 7th, I arrived in Granada once more with the idea to spend about a year here getting to know the daily ups and downs of an NGO. It is my intention to report regularly on the projects and initiatives this organization develops to improve the educational situation in the poorest 'barrios' of Granada.

"Lack of education is the problem
Volunteers are the means 
Children are the future" 

La Esperanza Granada is a non-governmental organization (NGO) funded by individuals, groups, schools, etc. that provides opportunities and resources to improve the educational situation in the poorest neighborhoods on the outskirts of Granada, Nicaragua.


La Esperanza Granada was founded in 2002 by a group of travelers who wanted to do something for the poor communities of Granada. At first, the objectives were far from clear or concrete: rebuild roads, provide water, help local businesses, provide medical care, etc. As the number of volunteers increased, education became the main focus. Over the years La Esperanza changed into a recognized NGO headed by a Board of Directors existing of both Nicaraguan and foreign members. At any given moment, the organization counts on a large number of volunteers from all over the world. Volunteers are the life and soul of La Esperanza. It is them who keep the organization going.


La Esperanza's main focus is on primary education. In Nicaragua about 85% of all children go to primary school. This means that there is still a large number of children that do not go to school at all. The quality of education remains a big problem. A Nicaraguan child takes about 10 years to finish the 6 years of compulsory education. Only 40% of the kids who go to school, finish primary school.

At this moment, more than 2000 kids go to school thanks to the efforts of La Esperanza Granada. Below an overview of what La Esperanza Granada does exactly:
  • One-on-one Tutoring in primary schools
  • English and Computer classes
  • Purchase of school materials, sports materials, etc.
  • Renovation of school buildings and school materials
  • Construction of new classrooms and new schools
  • Extra teachers
  • Scholarships for highschool students
  • University Scholarship Program (Ayudantes)
  • Medical Care (dentist, eye examination, etc.)


La Esperanza Granada is actively present in different barrios on the outskirts of Granada. The map below shows the poverty level of the city center and the communities surrounding the city. LEG currently sends volunteers to five different barrios, most of which have a pink color on the map, meaning that the inhabitants live in situations of extreme poverty. Only the city center (yellow area) has a relatively low level of poverty.

© http://www.inide.gob.ni/censos2005/CifrasMun/tablas_cifras.htm


La Esperanza Granada receives donations from ex-volunteers and other donors who usually have a certain connection to the organization. All funds go directly towards the different projects. Thanks to the frequent cooperation with schools and universities, La Esperanza is able to count on a large number of student groups who come to work on a variety of projects. This way the NGO is able to develop larger and more significant projects, such as the construction of new classrooms.

Furthermore, La Esperanza makes sure there is one Ayudante, i.e. a Nicaraguan university student, present at each school to support the volunteers. To be able to provide this support, the NGO has set up the 'Ayudante Program', a scholarship program at university level for which the student or ayudante works at one of the schools during the week and goes to class during the weekend. La Esperanza pays the university fees, school materials, uniform and everything that is necessary to offer the student every opportunity to complete his university studies. Two ayudantes were recently hired as full-time coordinators: Karen as the administrative coordinator and Donald as volunteer coordinator.

© La Esperanza Granada