About Us






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

Ian is a  career public servant with the Government of Canada.  He has had an interest in social justice and issues impacting the world's developing nations since his days as a student at Saint Francis Xavier University.  An admirer of the work undertaken by Barbara and Ed Dunsworth in Nicaragua, and elsewhere in Latin America, he took the opportunity to join a group traveling to Nicaragua in 2017.  During that visit Ian had an opportunity to contribute to the group's efforts to build a house for a family,  and learn more about Pathway to Progress programs.  Impressed with the accomplishments of the program, Ian agreed to join the Board of Directors in 2017.  In the Spring of 2019, he succeeded Trudy Comeau as President of Pathway to Progress Nicaragua.  

Ian MacDonad - President
Ian MacDonald.2017.P2PImmersionTrip.JPG
Susan Grant

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. 

Stanko Vaci

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. 

Wendell Sanford

Wendell is a native of Halifax who first crossed paths with Ed Dunsworth at St Patrick's High School in the mid 1960s. As luck would have it, they were both in the University Naval Training Program while undergrads  in the late 1960s and graduated from Dalhousie Law School in the same class (1975). Sanford's career path took him to the Canadian Foreign Service where he served for 35 years at home and abroad. While he did not serve in Central America his first posting (1980 - 83) was in Bangkok Thailand where he had first hand experience of the developing world and the importance of education in lifting the next generation from poverty. When he heard that Ed and Barbara had taken "the road less travelled" in their career he became an enthusiastic supporter. On his retirement he became a sponsor of People to People. In 2017 he returned to Halifax and joined the Board in December 2020.

Tanya Cook

Tanya is a prosthodontist in Halifax, NS and University Teaching Fellow at the Dalhousie Dental School.  As a lifelong learner and educator, she is a fervent believer that education is the gateway to future success.  Since her years as a student at Acadia and Dalhousie Universities, Tanya has had an interest in supporting disenfranchised youth in all areas of need around the world.  Combining these two passions, she was excited about the opportunity to join the board of Pathway to Progress Nicaragua, as she felt it was a natural fit for her.  In addition to her enthusiasm for helping others, she also brings to the Board experience with organizing fundraising events.