How it Started
In August 2005, Ed and Barbara Dunsworth moved to Managua as directors of the Hand in Hand Ministries' program. During their first months there, they visited a number of other non-profit organizations to learn about their programs and volunteered at a few schools in Managua.
They were both shocked to see the conditions and the circumstances in the pre-schools and the public primary schools. The lack of trained teachers, school supplies, school books and general resources were astounding.
It was during this time that they decided to try to tackle, in a small way, the huge educational deficit facing children in Managua. They devised a pilot project to select bright children from families living in a poor area of Managua and sent them to a very good private school. Three children, Mauro, Jessica and Breyling all graduates from a pre-school where Barbara had volunteered, were selected.
These three children started classes at Nicaragua Christian Academy-Nejapa in late January 2006 as the first participants in what is now the Pathway to Change Program.
This was a fairly steep learning curve as Barbara and Ed discovered the challenges that children from disadvantaged families face in obtaining a decent education. As they worked through the day-to-day issues that confronted them and as the school year wore on, they came to the conclusion that they were onto something. Something that they were increasingly led to believe would enable these children, and many more like them, to receive a good education and give them an opportunity to live a more dignified life.
Pathway To Change
Pathway to Change is committed to finding ways to overcome the barriers that deny children living in poverty access to a good education.
It is well-documented that the roots of hunger and poverty lie in inequalities that block access to education and opportunity.
Pathway to Change is a scholarship program that makes top-quality education available to bright children from families living in poverty.
Pathway to Progress Nicaragua was incorporated and registered as a Canadian charity in February 2010. It supports the work of Pathway to Change by raising money in Canada to cover the cost of scholarships and education expenses for students enrolled in this program.
There are approximately 90 children, ranging in age from 6 to 16 years, in this program. There are students at four different private schools in the Managua city area. The goal is to reach children early, beginning in the first grade, giving them the best possible chance to reach their full potential. A full scholarship of $2100 a year covers the cost of tuition, a healthy breakfast & mid-morning snack, transportation, uniforms, books, school supplies and medical care. The program also provides after school tutoring for students in English and those whom are struggling or whose parents are unable to help with homework. And there are Saturday math classes for everyone!
Meet the Board
Trudy has been involved with issues around education for many years, particularly in promoting French language opportunities through Canadian Parents for French where she served as National President from 2004-2006. After visitng lifelong friends, Ed and Barb Dunsworth, and meeting some of the children already in the Pathway to Change Program, she was compelled to be a part of this life changing program to educate children living in poverty in Managua. A graduate of Acadia University in Wolfville, NS, Trudy resides in Halifax with her husband, Michel, and they have three grown children. She is very excited about taking the hands of these Managuan children on a pathway to progress.
Trudy Comeau - President
Susan committed to supporting Pathway to Progress after her service trip to Managua in 2013. Seeing firsthand the obstacles children have to overcome to receive an education and witnessing the commitment of their parents to ensure a better future for their children inspired her. The success of the Pathway program established by Ed and Barbara Dunsworth was evidence that a good education improves the lives of the children, enhances the communities they live in and is a path to end the cycle of poverty. Susan lives in Halifax and is blessed with three adult children, their spouses and three beautiful granddaughters.
Jeff joined the Board in 2017. He first heard of Pathway to Progress in 2015 when his son was asked to go on a mission to help build a house for a family in need. After hearing all about the wonderful experience his older brother had, his younger brother went the following year. They were both impacted greatly by the living conditions of families in Nicaragua and returned home wanting to do more. After hearing all of the wonderful stories from his sons and other people who are part of the Pathway to Progress team, he was delighted to join the Board as Treasurer. He lives in Halifax with his wife Colleen and two boys.
Stanko came to Canada in 1992, after spending one year in Hungary in a refugee camp during the civil war in former Yugoslavia. During that period of time he experienced what it means not to have, and ever since he came to Canada, he wanted to help other people in need. Two years later, he started his own painting business which he still operates. When he joined the parish mission in February of 2012 to work in Nicaragua, he worked alongside Ed Dunsworth and others from the group to build a house for a family living in poverty and used his professional skills to help paint an old school building. The passion and enthusiasm that Ed and Barb have towards children every day is very inspiring. Stanko lives today in Halifax, NS, with his wife Maria and they have two sons. They are blessed with three grand daughters.
Peggy was very fortunate to have been born and to have grown up in Guyana, a third world country and it has been by far, her most valuable life experience. The signs of poverty were never far away and at an early age, practical ways of helping to alleviate this burden were instilled in her. It is not surprising, therefore, that after three immersion trips to Nicaragua she remains an enthusiastic supporter of Ed and Barb's work in Managua. The Dunsworth's have established a life changing program for dozens of children through education. It is the hope and dream that these children will lead their families out of the crippling circle of poverty.
Marcia considers it a privilege to serve on the Pathway to Progress Board, being a believer that education is the foundation to individual success and a peaceful world. On a service trip to Nicaragua in 2012, she met many of the children participating in the Pathway Program, visited some of their families, spent time in the after school centre and observed the vision and dedication of Ed and Barb in action. This was real work making a real difference. She returned to Halifax, inspired to become more involved, knowing what she did about the Pathway Program. She sees the Breakfast of Hope, and other initiatives supported so generously by many, as opening big doors of opportunity to children in Nicaragua. Marcia has lived and worked in Halifax for several years and has one daughter.