Why We Created Spanish for Good
In a nutshell, we created Spanish for Good specifically to move people in poor countries out of poverty.
We chose to focus on Nicaragua because it's the poorest country in the Americas after Haiti and Sandy grew up in Latin America.
Our preference is to create work that meets a real need that customers would be happy to consistently purchase without depending on a charity factor. We have nothing against charity - we certainly give to charities - but charities can never be a widespread solution to poverty. It can't scale up to reach more than a fraction of the poor. The only solution that can help large numbers of people is for everyone to have useful work to do which is paid fairly.
We travelled throughout the country exploring possible businesses that might work. While travelling and exploring we studied Spanish with many tutors, nearly 50. We were depressed by the low wages they received and how little work they had. So I asked one of my tutors (Cecilia) how much money would make a good living in Nicaragua and she said about $350/mo (~ 2013). It's normal now, but at the time remote learning was novel and I figured we could connect tutors in poor places to richer people who could afford to study long term and provide stable income for them. It only took about 6 months to get her around $450/mo average, which was fabulous wages at the time. Now the average is more like $650 - still great pay for Nicaragua.
There have been countless hurdles and only after 8 years do I feel like we might finally be in a position where things run well enough that we could consider expanding. Up until now our jobs have been so labor intensive it would not have worked to grow the number of tutors.
We spend 15% of gross income on computers, headphones, cameras, research, training, travel, books, web page, advertising, billing and payment systems, phones, etc.... and the rest goes to your tutor.
One thing that attracted us to this type of business is that it's hard for corrupt government, crime, and political instability to shut things down. Not impossible, but so far we have dodged those problems.
Another thing that attracted us to this specific business is we noticed as our kids entered the workforce that Spanish has abruptly become a crucial job skill for millions of folks in the Southern US, but most of those people can't afford enough help to learn Spanish. Having an affordable option not only helps Nicaraguans, it helps people in the US. It's a true win-win.
So far Sandy and I have worked for free but we do aspire to grow things to the point where the people who run the business can be paid because as long as it depends on our gift of time and talent it is fragile - it will die when we can't do it any more. To understand us and our motivations better you can read this.
If you would like to know more feel free to give us a call! :-)