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La Esperanza Granada


Located in Granada, Nicaragua, La Esperanza Granada is a non-profit organization with a primary focus on creating opportunities for children through education. ‘Born’ in 2002, we started in one small village and now provide learning opportunities to more than 2,000 underprivileged children living in the impoversished areas of Granada. Our Learning Centers provide children are open in the afternoon to keep them off the street and reinforce their education. Volunteers will assist the children in areas such as Maths, Art, Spanish, Computing and Reading and English classes. There is also the possibility to work in a high school.

Volunteers join us from around the world and work alongside local volunteers, called ‘ayudantes’, who are all local students receiving a university scholarship through La Esperanza Granada.

Granada is a beautiful colonial city, on the shore of Lake Cocibolca and surrounded by volcanoes. The beach is never far away.

Please visit our website for more information.


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Yes, I recommend this program

La Esperanza, Granada, Nicaragua

I have just had an amazing month here in Nicaragua. I was volunteering with La Esperanza, Granada and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I was teaching basic English to grades 4, 5 and 6 four times a week in El Colegio Mercedes Madragón and Spanish with grade 1 students twice a week in José de la Cruz Mena and I also helped kids with computer games in La Amped 2 times a week. The kids come from all types of backgrounds but are so welcoming and always smiling. I really liked the one on one teaching with the grade 1 kids because they wanted to learn and worked so hard. I was able to help the kids improve a little during my time here and hopefully it will be of help to them in the future. I will never forget this experience and all the kids and friends I have made from all over the world.

What would you improve about this program?
I think they could maybe try and setup a sports club or a place for the kids to play sports, which would help the kids stay healthy and they could also learn new skills.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

First experience as volunteer

I decided to go to Nicaragua because I wanted to do something after my studies.

After some researchers I found this program at La Esperanza Granada where you can become an an assistant for the teachers in the schools. You can participate to English classes, help at the kindergarden,... There is many ways you can help.

As student in communication, I worked at the office and I went to the computer classes 3 days/week.

This was really good to see both sides of the organisation : one more professional and one with the children.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Scream like a lion, whisper like a mouse

"MUAHHHHHHH", screamed Kevin, a volunteer in our English team of four and suddenly, a non melodic, but extremely loud choir, consisting of our approximately 40 fourth class students, arose to scream with him. Not only, because we were playing "Simon says" and the game in itself is fun, but because the game allows them to be who they are, cheerful, energetic, crazy, loud and playful kids, or rather, animals. Lions being released.

"Simon says" works as follows:
A volunteer screams into the class room: "Simon says, be a lion!" or "Simon says, be a mouse!" And if the kids have learned the vocabulary of our unit, in this case, animals, they try to mimic whatever Simon told them to be and do. This way, they do not only sit in class and have to copy words from the board, which is great for disciplinary work, don't get me wrong, but not a sufficient tactic for them to actually remember the vocab. Instead, they get to study and learn whole heartedly, with their whole body and more than what you would imagine their whole voice capacity would be.

To teach English by not only being a strict teacher fighting the kids natural urge to move and play, but by finding a balance between the of course necessary discipline, but also the childish playfulness that they scream for without limits, was one of the best, most challenging, educating, frustrating, rewarding and fun experiences of my life. I would do it all over again and recommend it to whomever is interested in screaming out loud like a lion or in whispering silently like a mouse, in challenging oneself and others and in commiting to the craziness of a classroom in a developing country.

What would you improve about this program?
This program could be improved by more volunteers who stay longer than the average length of four to six weeks. I've seen more progress when the volunteers have time to get to know the different kids, their different strengths and weaknesses, manipulative games and actual needs and when the volunteers then as a result, can act upon the given challenges better in a more differenciated way.

Other than that, I think the program does really well and the people commiting to it are incredibly motivated, engaged, solution oriented and reflective of what they do and of what can be improved. They do a great job, especially with the given circumstances and challenges of poverty and the lack of a stable and supportive family background.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Providing well needed education

There is not only a big problem with street children in Nicaragua but due to the poverty level there is a lack of education even amongst very young children. La Esperanza Granada is a great organisation that looks at the holistic picture with regards to education. Ensuring the facilities, equipment and health of the children is developed in line with the volunteer programme, where volunteers support, tutor and teach english in primary schools.

It gives volunteers an opportunity to see and support some of the poorest children in Nicaragua and really make a difference to their future. They provide cheap housing and there is no cost to volunteer, just some dedication and hard work! The social scene is good although maybe more for the younger gap year students rather than post University and the oldies amongst us!

What would you improve about this program?
I think that it would be good to educate some of the volunteers a bit more in line with them working in schools. Many of the volunteers are fairly young and some see it as an opportunity to just have fun rather than balancing this with some hard work and dedication to the children. It would be good to educate them on issues in Nicaragua, the impact they could have or may not have if they skip school or only get an hours sleep the night before!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Needs Improvements

When you begin this program, you start with a lot of hope. It is a really great idea after all. You will go and assist the teachers in some of the poorest schools in Granada. The only drawback is, unless you speak Spanish, you will do very little teaching. The "Spanish team" is able to provide one-on-one tutoring to the children in these schools where, otherwise, they would barely get one-on-five. The class room sizes are very large and very disorganized because of it. The tutoring is a really great help to the kids who need that extra attention.
The "English Team" and the group that helps in the preschool are more of entertainers than anything else. Maybe a child learns the word "milk" but not much else can really be accomplished.
The best thing for this program is to emphasize the need for more Spanish speakers and more tutors. It is amazing teaching kids the alphabet when you can tell they are far too shy to even ask for the help they need.

What would you improve about this program?
More tutoring options. As many as possible. The children need help in all areas. English speakers could maybe help with the infrastructure of the schools. They could all use a little more color and life.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Paul Munn


What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program provider assisted with placements in the different types of schools, accommodation, and materials for teaching. As a group, we had to organize lesson plans for the following week, each Friday.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I wish I had known more about one-on-one teaching in the schools. I would advise researching what type of teaching you would like to do, rather than the program selecting it for you, based on your initial application.

I would tell my friends to choose this program, as it was well organized and the experience, in my opinion, was incredible.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

It depends on what schools you are assigned to and how much you want to work. I was initially working two mornings from 08:30 to 11:30 and two afternoons from 13:00 to 16:30 teaching basic English. Lesson planning on a Friday was conducted at the main office at 10:00, followed by a picnic.

I chose to work more, as I was only there for a month and taught every day in two different schools, as well as computer-based teaching in another location created by the program.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was a little apprehensive because I had chosen Nicaragua. I had seen the revolution there on the news while growing up and even though the program had lots of advice on the country nowadays, I still had a few reservations.

I had lived through a civil war myself, coming from Northern Ireland, so I knew that the media can over-exaggerate things and reality can be so different. The experience there completely changed my views and things were normal and safe.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is a beautiful country and in my experience very safe, and there are so many tourists everywhere, from all over the world. The cost of living is very low and you can enjoy delicious food at a very low price. If you like a wee tipple, alcohol is very reasonable also.

I loved the one-on-one teaching because the kids really wanted to learn and when you see a little progress, the feeling is priceless. If I could change anything, I would have only taught in one school doing one-on-one teaching because it was so rewarding and I was only there for a month.