Our Story

Louise Brunberg with children at School of Louise's Dreams

The Right to Learn is a foundation dedicated to continuing a dream. That dream is that every child in Nagarote, Nicaragua will be able to attend school, regardless of their circumstances. This is a dream that began almost 20 years ago by a woman named Louise Brunberg.
Louise arrived in Nicaragua for the first time in 1993, as part of a delegation committed to building solidarity between the people of Nicaragua and the United States. Upon her first visits to the town of Nagarote, Louise was deeply moved by the reality of life there. Many children were unable to attend school, and at times even eat, because their families lacked the resources needed to pay for their education and a balanced diet. This is why in ___, Louise built a soup kitchen, where the poorest families in Nagarote could receive a free meal. Over the years her kitchen evolved into a small school for those same children that could not afford to attend the public schools. Today, School of Louise’s Dreams enrolls over 200 students from kindergarten to 3rd grade.

The children, during the lunch break

School of Louise’s Dreams accepts children from Nagarote’s most  impoverished families. These children are unable or unlikely to attend the public schools because their families cannot afford to pay for their educational necessities. At School of Louise’s dreams these children are provided with all the educational necessities that they would otherwise be unable to afford, including transportation, school supplies, uniform, shoes, breakfast and lunch. With the help of expert volunteers, we are continually training the school’s teachers in the Montessori Method. This is an exciting progression for the school, which will further improve the educational foundation for our students.

 So, welcome to our School!  Here at www.therighttolearn.org, you can help us to support the children of Nagarote by donating to The Right to Learn. Also, please sign up for our monthly email newsletter so we can update you on our progress and activities.  

Louise Brunberg at the home of Principal Rosario Castillo Urrutia

 

In 1993, Louise Brunberg just turned 65, and she just retired after 30 years of teaching elem 

In 1993, Louise Brunberg just turned 65, and she just retired after 30 years of teaching elementary education in the Westport (Connecticut) schools.  She wanted to travel … and spend more time with her family.  But something happened when she traveled as a tourist to Nicaragua:  She met a group of children … and their families … and began to understand the difficulties they faced. 

entary education in the Westport (Connecticut) schools.  She wanted to travel … and spend more time with her family.  But something happened when she traveled as a tourist to Nicaragua:  She met a group of children … and their families … and began to understand the difficulties they faced. 

The children (shown below, eating a lunch provided by the school) and their parents struggled with the grinding poverty of their town.  The parents knew that education was their best hope for a better future for the children, but educational opportunities were limited … and too expensive.  Without a school, they had no real future.  So, Louise, still caring for the children as she always had, reached into her own modest retirement and funded a new school, one that would teach young children and even provide a desperately needed lunch.  It had no name, but the local families began calling it “the School of Louise’s Dream (Escuela de Suenos de Luisa), or what we call simpy, “the School.” 

Later, when others wanted to help financially, Louise and a volunteer board set up the Right To Learn, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charitable foundation based in Florida.  Our “Foundation” pays all the expenses for the School. 

The children, during the lunch break

 

The School isn’t just any educational program, but one based on the Montessori Method – arguably the best sort of program for developing young minds.  Louise has attracted some of the best Montessori teachers and trainers to visit the school and help train the local teachers.  And the results have been spectacular.  <link to montessori articles from marie or robin in this paragraph.> 

Louise attracted a large group of other volunteers, e.g., artist David Chatowsky, who introduced an arts curriculum; James Johnson, who’s worked on the physical plant (the water tank, etc.); and a broad range of other people who want to help these poor kids. 

Just as educational achievement in Connecticut is a function of the poverty or wealth of the families, so has the social and economic challenges in Nicaragua been a concern of the school … so the children have a real chance to succeed.  Accordingly, the School has provided a nutritious hot lunch for all the kids who come … and sometimes that is their only meal of the day.  But without that sustenance … and the supplies and the encouragement … these kids would grow up illiterate and without any hope of a better life. 

“Providing these kids with access to the best teaching methodologies in the world, Louise has helped give them a real chance.”
    – Marie Scott, Board Member, The Right To Learn, Inc.

 
The first generation of students is now in their late teens and early 20s … and the school has expanded its programs to help those former students who now want/need to attend the local college.  Donations to the “Right To Learn College Program” – which has some seed funding from a church group in Rhode Island – have meant the difference between these young adults dropping out and completing their degree.   One of our graduates, Elias Martinez, has recently completed a computer technician degree, and he volunteers with the school to support the new computers that are being introduced into the curriculum. 

So, welcome to our School!  Please sign up for our monthly email newsletter so we can update you on our progress and activities.   And please read on — to learn more about our School, our kids and our programs. 

Thank you for visiting us at the Right to Learn and we hope you will help us continue Louise’s dream.