It isn’t often that we have an opportunity to update Rotarians on the continuing success of programs launched by international grants submitted by Rotarians in clubs throughout District 5650. But we would like to do so regarding a Rotary sponsored program to educate deaf and hard of hearing children in Nicaragua. Read about the need, impact of our project, and continued need below.
Early in the turn of the 21st century, Rotarians at Omaha’s Suburban Rotary Club submitted a Matching Grant, the forerunner of today’s Global Grants, to support the formation of a school for hearing challenged youngsters in the city of León, the second largest city in Nicaragua.
The rationale underlying the decision to work with Rotarians in León to address this essential educational need centered on the observation that childhood deafness is a serious medical problem in the country. This unfortunate state of affairs is a condition that is largely a consequence of an inescapable need to use highly effective and inexpensive antibiotics to save the lives of infants with life threatening infections, a solution with the devastating capacity to cause severe hearing loss. Based on this reality, Rotarians in our district stepped forward and found the resources at The Rotary Foundation to fund the opening of the original school, the Los Pepitos School for Hearing Impaired Youth. The school came online in 2007 in a start-up space of a not-for-profit building in León; today, three dedicated rooms of a private home in the city serve as classrooms in a continual effort to keep the school doors open.
These early efforts to intervene in a meaningful way to affect this pressing educational need in León spawned a project in which professors in the Special Education and Communication Disorders program in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska (Omaha) have traveled to León since 2008 to provide teacher training on an annual basis. Supplemented by an initiative in which doctoral students in audiology at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln) traveled to León to assess the hearing of children living in the city, the project grew. The implementation of the hearing screening program added another crucial layer to the ongoing effort to develop a meaningful hearing loss intervention program in the region. In recent years, the Advocacy Network for Nicaraguan Deaf Education (ANNDE), a 501(c)(3), came online to ensure the continuation of the school, now recognized as Escuela de Sordos, the School for the Deaf.
We cannot overstate just how much the generosity of Rotarians throughout District 5650 changed the lives of a small community of hard of hearing and deaf children living nearly 3,000 miles from our district. Today, these students are able to communicate directly with family members and friends and are in a position to participate in community affairs as a consequence of an education delivered, in part, by your support of the Rotary Foundation.
Unfortunately, there are no public education resources available for deaf and hard of hearing children in León and the school relies on volunteers and donations to keep the doors open. That is why ANNDE and members of the Omaha Suburban Rotary Club are asking for your assistance to continue this work. Without your support, the school cannot survive.
As of today, there are 25 children studying at the school and for $600 per year, each student receives a lifetime of benefit. Will you consider donating or “adopting” a child to cover all or a portion of their tuition? Your gift, a tax-deductible donation, will transform their lives, and 100% of your donation will go directly to tuition. As a gesture of appreciation for your generosity, you will receive regular updates on the progress of the student you adopt.
Join us to learn more about this program at and send your contribution directly to Frank Goldberg at 13031 Marinda Street, Omaha, NE 68144, or donate at
Your support will make an extraordinary difference in the lives of students studying at Escuela de Sordos, and you can rest assured that the deaf and hard of hearing children of León will celebrate your generosity for the remainder of their lives!