What we do

Pathway to Progress Nicaragua, in partnership with Hand in Hand Ministries (www.myhandinhand.org) is helping dozens of children living in poverty in the cities of Managua and Leon, Nicaragua, achieve real academic success and fulfill their hope, and the hope of their families, for a better future.

It is well-documented that the roots of hunger and poverty lie in inequalities that block access to education and opportunity. 
 
Our vision is to give bright and eager children, living in poverty, access to top-quality education. We support these children and the fight against child poverty through our collaboration with Hand in Hand Ministries and the innovative program called Pathway to Change.
 
Over 90% of the money that  P2P raises goes directly to spending on this program in Nicaragua.
 
Working together, we serve 90 children, ranging in age from 6 to 16, and accompany them from first grade to the end of high school and beyond. They are enrolled in two different private schools in Managua and Leon. Our intention is to reach children early, beginning in the first grade, giving them the best possible chance to grow and flourish in a physically, emotionally, and academically sound environment that can help lead them out of poverty.
 

Our Progress

Below are the 2021 1st Quarter results for the Pathway Program students in Managua and Leon, with all averages calculated using core-curriculum courses only.

90
students started and finished the 2020 school year
85
students achieved a grade average of 80% or better
52
students are in the top 10 in their class
27
students were in the top 5 in their class

The 4th quarter classes of 2020 and our tutoring help were held entirely online due to Covid-19. This continued to pose a significant challenge for many of our students and their parents who had to scramble to maintain or acquire outdated electronic devices and secure internet access –  all this in the midst of large numbers of work-related layoffs and genuine concern for the health and safety of their loved ones. These results are a tribute to our students and their families who persevered against overwhelming odds to continue their quest for academic excellence and a more secure future.

Our Awards

The Weldon Award for Unselfish Public Service recognizes an alumnus or alumna of Dalhousie University Law School that has made outstanding contributions to the community, be it local, provincial, national, or global in nature and impact.

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Ed Dunsworth was honoured to receive the Weldon Award in 2011 for his international work with the poor in Nicaragua.

Our Values

We are an organization based on the tradition of Christian social justice, which welcomes the engagement and participation of all people.

We believe that quality education provides a path that can break the cycle of poverty by building confident, contributing citizens who can build better communities over time.

We are a results-focused charity, accountable and transparent to our stakeholders for our actions.

We believe in the synergies of working in partnerships to fulfill our Mission.

How it started

In August 2005, Ed and Barbara Dunsworth moved to Managua to work with the poor. During their first months there, they visited a number of other non-profit organizations to learn about their programs. Their biggest takeaway from these meetings was that access to a good education was the major challenge facing most of the country’s children.  They began visiting schools and talking to educators. They were shocked to see the conditions and the circumstances in the public primary schools. The lack of trained teachers, school supplies, school books, and general resources was 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 the 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.

In February 2010,  Pathway to Progress Nicaragua was incorporated and registered as a Canadian charity. Its partnership with Pathway to Change is to raise awareness and support in Canada to advance education opportunities for children through scholarships for students enrolled in this program.

Now, Pathway to Progress Nicaragua and Hand in Hand Ministries, through Pathway to Change, are working together in finding ways to overcome the barriers to education that so many children living in poverty face.

"Our deepest hope for all of them is that they will grow into responsible, well-informed adults who can make a positive contribution to their country."
Barbara and Ed Dunsworth

Our Approach

The Pathway to Change Program operates on the premise that in order to be successful, it is critical to have the support of the children’s parents.

Each family is visited regularly in their homes by a program social worker. through weekly home visits. They take books for the children and encourage the parents to read to them. These visits are crucial in enabling program directors to know of any problems the family is having that directly affect the well-being of the children, and where they may be able to assist, such as the loss of a job, illness, or domestic violence. 

In addition to weekly home visits, monthly group meetings are held to maintain good relationships and open communication with the children’s families. At these meetings, small group discussions on relevant issues affecting their children are often held and occasionally there is a guest speaker. More than anything, these meetings show the commitment parents have to the program and their willingness to make their child’s education a priority. 

The program also includes opportunities for the children to grow and develop their talents in areas that interest them such as sports, dance, music, and art.  Being proficient in English is a key enabler in Managua, and the children attend English classes on the weekends.

They know that Pathway to Change is helping them break through the financial barriers that have traditionally denied them access to a good education, and they are proud to have their kids in the program.

Ed Dunsworth is reading book to Nicaraguan kids