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“My payment is seeing those children go to school”

July 15, 2008

Check out this interview with Kathy Adams, the founder and Executive Director of Empowerment International, who has now moved full time into Nicaragua to manage the program.

What is success to you and what are some of the success stories of the graduates of the program?

P1010258.JPGI used to think that success was finishing high school and maybe even college. Over time I realized I was projecting my own values and beliefs onto these families. I realized success to these families – where on average, parents reached about 3rd grade – is for our kids to surpass their parents by at least 2 years.

We are now pleased if they get through primary school, more pleased if they make it to high school. Currently we have two kids just about ready to go to college next year. This is a new level for us and we are looking at how to handle this and facilitate their next educational needs.

How have you traditionally found donors?

For years now I have been juggling tech jobs and my many EI responsibilities. Due to lack of time, most of our donors have just appeared from interpersonal connections of mine, our volunteers or our staff. The biggest gain has been from volunteers promoting the program once they have been to Nicaragua.

Why are you doing this?

Because I love it. I believe education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty as is developing the community spirit. It fills me, energizes me and makes me happy. Seeing the kids smile and in school instead of or as well as selling on the streets is wonderful. Every child deserves the chance to go to school.

What is in it for you?

Satisfaction. Joy. My payment is seeing those children go to school, watching them eagerly show us their school work, seeing the shift of family values to include education as a high priority, seeing the parents proud of their children and participating in a world they never dreamed of until EI came to them. I have to say another exciting factor has been witnessing our visitors and long term ground team volunteers become positively affected by the work and by the community. It seems we all receive more than we could possibly give to these amazing people.

Why quit a presumably good job to do this?

Earlier, while I continued to try to leave the tech world, financial necessities continued to drive me back and I dreamed of the day when I could focus completely on my true love…Empowerment International. It will be interesting to see how far it can go now that I will focus 150% of my time to it.

I am much happier doing something which makes a difference in the world and I feel educating children can affect so many of our world issues. My tech job is fun, but it has never filled my soul or made me feel satisfied. Honestly, this comes from a place beyond me… it is something I feel driven to do from a higher place and I am the vehicle that is being used to do this work. May sound esoteric but hey you asked…

– Janine Ramlochan

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In Nicaragua 50% of the kids that start 1st grade never make it to 5th grade. It is our goal to make this percentage drop significantly.

$30/month is what it takes us at Empowerment International to put a child in school. If you would like to help a child stay in school and get better life, please click on the link below or contact us

Donate at

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