Alternative Giving

This holiday season, you can give what we feel is the most powerful gift of all: education. It is the gift that keeps on giving. Here's how it works:

  1. You decide to honor your family, friends, loved ones with a special gift of education. Choose from bags of cement, bricks, doors, windows, books, soccer balls, pens, pencils, scholarships, uniforms, and so much more.
  2. Once you purchase your gift, we'll send you a blank beautiful Esperanza Gift Card, which you can add a personal message to. Within that card, we'll also send you a description of the gift of education that you have chosen.
  3. You add a personal message to your card, and forward it along to your loved one, letting them know of the gift you have given in their honor.
  4. Your gift continues to inspire hope, and allow students in Nicaragua and El Salvador the chance for a better future, thru education.


By giving bricks you are helping to set the foundation of education in Central America. These will provide the base of the school we build together.

Without the glue that holds it all together, we couldn't build the school. Maybe you love to mix concrete yourself, or want to honor those of your friends or relatives who have been on a work group and loved it.

Make a huge volcano with the sand and cement, in order to mix concrete! The sand is an integral part of mixing concrete for the walls, bricks, floor, and the school.

With one per classroom, these are the entrance to the new school, passed thru by hundreds of students daily!

This is the last part of building the school, and will keep the students dry! For many students and teachers, before they had a school in their community, they were subject to the harsh sun and rain.

Painted in the traditional blue and white, this is the final step needed to finish the school. The students love to add paint to make the school beautiful!

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Grupo SOL in Nicaragua began with a few donated guitars. Volunteers, who helped at the Learning Resource Center, asked to learn how to play them. Today, it is an award winning group, that has traveled to the US 10 years ago, played on national television in Nicaragua, and even has a CD! Giving the gift of a guitar is just the first step in helping students realize their musical talent.

Whether a drum, bass guitar, marimba, percussion, or other instruments, our music program at the Learning Resource Center in Ciudad Dario, Nicaragua is always looking for instruments for the class.

Soccer tends to be the sport that brings together groups from the US and Nicaragua and El Salvador. With the help of a partner organization this year, and your help, we are hoping to give each sister school in Nicaragua and El Salvador a new soccer ball!

The gift of pens, pencils, maps, and notebooks may seem basic to some, but it is what is most asked for by teachers and students. This bundle of supplies (maps, books, pencils, and pens) allows us to support all of the students and teachers with whom we work with much needed supplies.

Whether we are giving story books, text, or reference books, all of them are much appreciated. From the library in the Learning Resource Center, to the Satellite Center in Las Delicias, and new little libraries at schools in El Salvador, we try hard to respond to as many requests for books as possible. Children, parents, grandparents, and even the mayor himself come to the Learning centers to read books together.

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Backpacks are an important part of being able to attend school. Rather than have to carry books and supplies by hand, or in a plastic bag, a backpack provides the student with the ease of transporting materials. The backpacks are taken care of, and tend to last for quite some time.

Even the public schools in Nicaragua and El Salvador require uniforms for their students. In Nicaragua, we have found that students who take sewing classes at the Learning Resource Center are happy for the extra work of sewing a uniform for the students. The uniforms consist of the traditional blue pants, and white shirts.

The cost of sending a primary school student to school for a month is just $25. That includes books, a uniform, shoes, and school supplies. It's what makes the difference for youth to be able to attend school and hope for a better future.

Sending a student to high school costs $500 per year. That includes books, school supplies, a uniform, as well as transportation and food. The students who are supported with a scholarship, also work with staff to develop a community service project. Often, they tutor younger students, borrow a backpack full of books and open up the elementary school in their community on the weekend.

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Sonoma author Sara Donnelly and illustrator Sally Carnahan Lewis have created a heartwarming, bilingual children's story. Esperanza and the New School; Esperanza y la Nueva Escuela grew out of Donnelly's years of service in Seeds of Learning, a non-profit organization which, among other things, conducts "working vacations" in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Every year teams of volunteers travel to remote areas of these countries to build schools. Esperanza depicts this experience as seen through the eyes of one little girl.


Gift Cards:


In this beautifully illustrated book with over 100 full-color photographs, Stelli Munnis and Veronica Winters share what it's like to travel to Nicaragua with Seeds of Learning. Although volunteers go to build or renovate a school building, the real work happens when things are torn down. As the barriers between people are removed, and the walls individuals erect inside themselves are deconstructed, they become more authentic and caring with one another. Volunteers can't help but feel deeply moved and touched by the hearts and spirits of the Nicaraguan children and people.

Also available on DVD: Journey with volunteers as they complete construction on a new classroom at La Curva school near Matagalpa, Nicaragua. See the sights and hear the sounds of this lovely, lush country. In this one-hour video, Artist Veronica Winters beautifully captures the heart of the land, the spirit of the people, and the excitement of the volunteers.

Eyes to See: U.S. Volunteers in Nicaragua:

Gifts made represent a gift to the entire mission of Seeds of Learning. To help the most number of people have access to quality education, SOL does not use its limited resources to track individual gifts from donation to distribution. We use your gifts where they can do the most good by pooling them with the gifts of others to help transform entire communities. And, because you are helping SOL increase access to education, and promote cross-cultural understanding (and SOL is a legally-registered 501 c(3) nonprofit organization), your gift is tax deductible.