Last week I was catching up with a friend, Michael, who used to be a leader on the annual photography tours with The Giving Lens. It had been a while since we’d talked, and he started asking about some of the 'kids'. He was really blown away… he would ask about one child and then another… most were great stories. They have all grown up and most are doing really well despite the crisis that struck in April 2018, causing the economy to plummet, and tourism to collapse.
Today, they are living proof to their community that education truly can divert the trajectory of poverty. And to be quite honest, after naming several alumni, I started to realize for the very first time the true scale of impact we’ve had, and tears welled up. It has been a long road these 15 years, and seeing these former students thrive is truly an honor. An honor that is not just mine to hold but, yours to share. You have stood by us, believing and empowering us to persevere when the odds against were formidable.
Anielka: Graduated from business administration and has been working for an insurance firm in Managua for two years.
Armando: Studied Product Design then left for Honduras for two years to serve as a missionary.
Abigail: Graduated as a doctor of medical optometry and has been working in a local optical store as the doctor ever since she graduated
Olga: She is in her last year of law school and works for us doing home visits on her off days.
Melki: Went to Russia (yes Russia!) to study aviation. Now he is a fairly high ranking officer in the military.
Marluz: was slated to finish her law degree but lost a year due to the crisis, while no longer with us she is on a full scholarship including lodging, and visits us often.
Lupe: She speaks fluent English and is now in her 1st year of studies in Business Administration.
Anyelo: Works in a local pharmaceutical laboratory as a chemist
Jeaneth: While she worked in 5-star resorts, when the crisis hit she was impacted. We had an opening so she is working as a sponsorship coordinator.
Maynor: He was studying tourism but this was derailed due to the collapse of tourism...so he is starting over this year and studying bio-intensive agriculture and putting it into practice in our rural community of Santa Ana.
Joel: He is studying Systems Engineering in the top engineering school in Managua
Rafa: While he did not choose to study after high school, he is gainfully employed at the local manufacturer and keeps in touch
These alumni say they would not have the lives they have now if not for the support of you and EI. Growing up impoverished, in a poor neighborhood, to uneducated parents, they did not have much hope. In a country where most people earn less than $2 a day, these kids are breaking out of the cycle of poverty, against all odds. Each year we invite these and other alumni to visit and meet our current students, demonstrating what they can achieve with hard work and the support of Empowerment International. What seemed like an impossible journey to students is now a path full of hope and possibility.
Thanks to your generosity and support, the number of students graduating from high school continues to grow each year. Today we have 26 students who are in the university or technical college and this year we celebrated another 10 high school graduations.
When we invest in these students, we are changing not only their lives but the entire community.
True change takes time and patience. After 15 years, we are definitely seeing that your generosity is paying off. In order to keep this amazing momentum and help these amazing kids, we need your continued support more than ever. Since the political crisis of April 2018, our income has continued to fall due to tour cancellations, hotel partners having to halt their child sponsorships, not to mention that our photo sales, and new visitors have disappeared. While sadly, many organizations have been forced to close, we are still here, and we really need support to avoid serious cuts in 2020. We have celebrated the highs, and weathered the lows together over the past 15 years. Today your support is critical to this now steady stream of emerging professionals that together we’ve nurtured.
I am personally inviting you to take a moment and consider making your year-end contribution to these amazing kids who really deserve the opportunity that education can offer them. And if you would like to have a more personal and rewarding relationship with a student or students, I would like to invite you to sponsor a student by clicking here.
We are grateful for your past support and hope you will continue to partner with us, changing one life at a time.
Thank you! Sincerely,
Kathy Anne Adams
Founder and Executive Director, Empowerment International