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Home Visits are the Foundation our Program is Built On

May 12, 2015

The EI team continually analyzes the EI program elements and tweaks it each year based on feedback from the community, graduation rates, and drop-out rates. This unusual approach, open-minded and data-driven, rather than hide-bound and based on historical approaches, has led to a multi-pronged program that addresses the many disparate challenges that the children in our communities face.

From the very start of EI, in Costa Rica in 1998, Kathy observed that if the children received regular encouragement, and the family received some advice on how to best help their children in school, the children stayed motivated and did not drop out. This personal encouragement and problem-solving turned out to be the dominant factor in the families’ commitment to education and the children’s success.

Homevisits Anielka and Carla            prog-coord

“Home visits” are one of the most innovative and unique aspects of the EI program. Originally, Kathy made all the home visits herself but as the program grew, we now have 4 trained EI staff who do these full-time.  The frequency of visits depends on the assessed risk of each student, but is 1 to 3 times per month. With the parents, EI reviews the children’s schoolwork and discusses issues that might disrupt their child’s education like problems at school or at home.  This is one of the forums where EI emphasizes the long-term benefits of education. Fostering relationships and trust with families opens the door to a deeper connection and allows EI and the family to create solutions to obstacles that arise which otherwise might lead to a child failing to graduate or dropping out.

Recently, Home Visits were lauded as the key innovation behind a US-based group that was referred to by the Huffington Post as “the most effective anti-poverty program in America.”  Quoting from the above article: “People are most comfortable and most themselves at home. It’s most effective for working with children.” We are delighted that other groups with the same mission of helping children throughout the world have also invented this approach and we certainly agree with them!


Our new 2015 University Students

May 12, 2015
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This year we are excited to have three more graduates of our program, Armando, Marluz, and Indiana, starting their college careers at the Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua.  Armando is studying product design, Marluz  is studying law, and Indiana is studying marketing.  So far they are all adjusting very well and are excelling in their studies.
This is such a transformation in this community, where it was previously considered rare and remarkable for students to graduate from high school, much less aspire to college degrees. Armando, Marluz, and Indiana are excellent role models for the younger children of the community. All three of them continue to intern at EI to give back the support they received and to help and inspire the younger children.

Kindles!!! A new fun way to read.

May 12, 2015

11174240_10153247436279344_6793211191873296131_oWe are excited to have received a generous donation of 10 Kindle e-readers to accompany our other 4 Kindles.  This creates so many more opportunities for our kids.   E-readers have many advantages over physical media for us.

Books are expensive in Nicaragua, and there are many free, or highly discounted, Spanish books available

  • Kids can now all read the same text at the same time in our reading groups (we hope to soon also bring the Kindles once a week to our small rural school in Santa Ana for the teachers to use).
  • Reading from electronic tablet-like devices is fun for kids and even more of a novelty than books, making it fun to read.

Thank you Jonna and Fraser Stanley Jones for making this happen!

Note:  If you have a Kindle you are no longer using or would like to donate a new one as Jonna and Fraser did, you can mail them to Empowerment International, PO Box 1215, Lyons, CO 80540.

Little thing can mean so much to a lot of kids!

April 17, 2015

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Simple things  like a backpack full of school supplies can really make our kids day! A small part of our program involves giving kids their school supplies and uniforms/shoes each year.

First Parent Meeting for 2015 Off to a Great Start

March 22, 2015
First Parent School Session  of 2015 was a Big Success!


Over the years we have learned the importance of parental involvement and buy in to move the children’s education forward. Thus we turned our parent meetings into a “Parent School”.  Here they are given different perspectives on how they can parent differently.  After many years in the community of Villa Esperanza they have proven to learn a lot and during the exercises they participate with unprecedented enthusiasm and wisdom. It won’t be long before they can teach  our less development communities.

Melki Finishes on Top!

January 24, 2015


Many of you who have been here over the years know Melki. He was with us for 8 years. He is a talented photographer, cyclist, soccer player, always number one in his class. Everything Melki does he does well. The amazing thing is he always remained humble and good natured. Sadly, a year ago, his father took him out of the program for various reasons. He was forced to finish school during Saturdays and work during the week at a local bakery, yet true to Melki’s character, he finished and finished on top. He graduated #1 in his class and this gives him a lot of opportunity for scholarships. Congratulations Melki! We know you will continue to move forward with your determination, perseverance and dedication. In our hearts you are always part of the EI family! Photo by Armando.

Another EI Student Graduates!

January 18, 2015


19 year old Yuriel graduated from the nationally prestigious technical school, INTECNA. This was not an easy feat for him or EI. On more than one occasion he almost dropped out to help his family. Now he is moving forward and plans to study engineering. His biggest decision now is Electro-mechanical or Industrial Engineering. He has also been offered a job where he was interning and plans to work during the week and go to school on the weekends. Congratulations Yuriel!! And many thanks to his sponsor Tolo Perry.

— Empowerment International.