Friday, December 25, 2015

Season's Greetings

It has been another successful year for the Isa Mundo Foundation. We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone Happy Holidays and all the best in the coming year.

As each year passes - we are even more grateful to our supporters, volunteers and partners who have contributed to our past and present projects.

In 2015, we continued our work and focus in improving the Volcanes Primary School and the Isa Mundo Education Centre in the area.  By investing in teachers and providing modern learning tools - we have seen the difference our efforts have made this year.  There will be some exciting new projects launched at Volcanes in 2016 with Appnovation.

We also strengthened our partnership with Casa Connor and Pasitos de Luz by doing research on how to improve the facility being constructed by using solar panels.  We hope to complete this project in the coming year.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Appnovation meets Isa Mundo Foundation

Blog contributed by Brittany Neale, Development Specialist at Appnovation


Appnovation uses open technologies to educate, empower, and engage developing communities to create sustainable economic and social change.

Appnovation was founded in 2007 as an open source development shop specializing in the creation of websites and mobile applications for a variety of locally­based companies and non­profits. Headquartered in Vancouver, with offices around the globe in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the United States, we have set a company goal to begin to build a corporate legacy, using tech as a force for social good. This past February we launched our Corporate Citizenship program, which seeks to build partnerships with civil society, the private sector, and institutions interested in creating sustainable development and change through technology. Citizenship to Appnovation is about a commitment to being an active community member, fulfilling our duties, obligations, and desires to act as a positive force and change maker. For Appnovation, this means a sense of responsibility to our local communities, and to the world as a whole.

Since its inception, Appnovation’s Corporate Citizenship program has found strong legs within the Vancouver community. With a number of worthy organizations operating in the city, we wanted to ensure that our Citizenship partners emulated our workplace culture and core values of growth, innovation, teamwork, customer satisfaction, and openness. The Isa Mundo Foundation stood out as an ideal candidate: believing that using our skills and expertise can act as a powerful force for those in need.

As an active Corporate Citizen, Appnovation is committed to implementing projects through two methods. First, we donate developer’s hours to non­profit partners for a variety of web­based and mobile projects; second, we work with our partners to seek funds for larger scale deployments that require the assistance of third party members.

After initial meetings of introduction and determining a values alignment, Appnovation is very excited to continue a dialogue with Isa Mundo around future projects and areas of collaboration. We feel very honoured to have the opportunity to work with such a reputable and respected organization. We are greatly looking forward to what the future holds for our teams and the individuals who can truly witness technology become a tool for social change. 

To learn more about our work, please visit us at

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October 2015 - Mexico Project Site Visits

Isa Mundo Foundation will make its annual project site visits in the state of Jalisco this month. The team will land in Puerto Vallarta to visit ongoing projects that are making a difference in communities. Our focus in the area has largely been in the Volcanes community where we support an education initiative and attempting to develop and Life Skills Program at the Volcanes Primary School.

Paul Lorilla (Director and Chair, Education Projects) will visit the IMEC and school staff at Volcanes and asses how to continue improving education opportunities of students. Paul will also see the newly launched Volcanes Sewing School that has been developed to provide training to women in the community with the goal of increasing employment opportunities in the future.

Andrée Lacasse (Chair, Children & Youth Projects) has been invited to visit and participate in a life skills program class with a local teacher and her students. This is a great opportunity to learn and observe first hand a program being used that we can support and perhaps fund as a formal Isa Mundo Life Skills Program.

We also hope to visit the Casa Connor facility being constructed to see its progress and to learn how to better support this important project. We look forward to meeting our colleagues and friends in Jalisco and continue building strong partnerships with local non profit organizations in the area. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

IMEC in Nicaragua

We are pleased to announce that we started the launch of an IMEC in Granada, Nicaragua. This will be the second one we have supported in the country.

This IMEC is in partnership with Soccer Without Borders (SWB) and discussions began in 2014 when SWB contacted Isa Mundo Foundation and requested to become a partner in their Granada Education Project.  With the support of Electronics Recycling Association and UPS Shipping - we were able to send the first 7 laptops to Granada to assess how the IMEC can support the SWB's education project.  We will monitor the progress and begin discussions on how to improve and expand the IMEC permanently.

We are excited to partner with SWB as we expand the IMEC concept in Latin America. As SWB stated:

"We are thrilled to partner with the Isa Mundo Foundation to bring much-needed education and technology resources to our program in Granada, Nicaragua. Research shows that the expected lifetime income for girls in the developing world increases 15-20% with each additional year of secondary school completed. Unfortunately, in Nicaragua, the secondary school enrollment rate is just 45%. With support from Isa Mundo, the education program at Futbol Sin Fronteras Granada is prepared to rise to the challenge of making sure that all of our girls graduate secondary school, opening doors to more professional options for a brighter future."

To learn more about SWB's project click on the link to their Granada Education Program.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Day in a Life of a Teacher

Blog contributed by Sasha Novell-Solacito, Teacher, Volcanes Community Education Project, Mexico

My workday morning starts out with a very dusty and bumpy ride through the working class neighborhoods of Puerto Vallarta. As the school’s SUV approaches the gates, my smiling students run in flip-flopped feet to greet me. They help me carry my teacher bag, my thermos of tea and the morning breakfasts to the classroom and we immediately start the lesson. Our students come on the shift opposite of their public school schedule to learn English and computer skills, completely voluntarily.

I teach grades 2, 3 and 4, and by now, they know the drill. We warm up with a quick introduction, sing a few songs and dance around to get the wiggles out, and then work on the current units’ vocabulary and sentence pattern. As a small non-government funded, non-profit school we are blessed to have computers, internet and TV’s in each classroom and for many of the students, this is their first encounter with technology.

Even small things such as teaching aids, board games, and classroom decorations make our teaching and learning environment more fun, interactive and efficient. Our new toy for this coming school year – Scholastic’s Little Red Tool Box – contains magnetic letters and sight words that allow students to move, manipulate and build their own words and sentences. Thanks to donations like these from Isa Mundo Foundation, English class becomes a gateway into a new world.

From Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, muchas gracias Isa Mundo!


Isa Mundo Foundation has been supporting the Volcanes Community Education Project since 2011. The first Isa Mundo Education Centre project in Mexico was launched in this school. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

IMEC in Granada, Nicaragua

In partnership with Soccer Without Borders (SWB), we are in the process of developing a second Isa Mundo Education Centre (IMEC) in Granada, Nicaragua. Isa Mundo has partnered with SWB in the past as their volunteers brought the first set of technological supplies to Empowerment International to create the first IMEC in Nicaragua. 

SWB has launched their Granada Education Program to facilitate positive secondary school outcomes and empower students to reach their full potential. One of the barriers to success is access to teachers, computers, internet and education software and tools. Isa Mundo has always been supportive of similar goals and we have committed to partner with SWB by providing much needed laptops to complement their program.  

Isa Mundo has been working with Mary McVeigh, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of SWB, to use their volunteers traveling to Nicaragua and bring the first batch of laptops to their school. We would like to thank UPS Store #501 in Vancouver for helping us with the shipping of these laptops and for supporting other projects in the future.

We will keep you all updated on the progress of the 2nd IMEC in Nicaragua. To learn more about SWB's education project click on the Granada Education Program.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Canada

Today, Canada is celebrating its 148th birthday.

2015 has been deemed as the Year of Sport in Canada, meaning that volunteers across the country will be giving their time and their talents putting on some major sporting events such as the Pan Am and Parapan Games and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

Canadians have remained as the most generous and engaged with their communities and continue to donate their time, money, energy and skills to the causes that matter to them the most. According to Volunteer Canada, 12.7 million Canadians contribute close to 2 billion hours of giving, volunteering and participating (

In his Canada Day speech this year, Governor General David Johnson issued a challenge to all Canadians to" use our unique talents to build a better Canada—especially as we approach Canada’s 150th birthday" The Isa Mundo  Foundation would like to thank Canadians for supporting not-for-profit organizations in their communities, Canada and internationally and most of all, those who continue to believe in Isa Mundo and its work. Let's together build better communities, a better Canada and a better world!

12.7 million Canadians contribute close to 2 billion hours (General Social Survey - Giving, Volunteering and Participating - See more at:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Compass Community School

Blog contributed by Elaine Su and Nicole Treitz of Compass Community School

Education is an interesting topic. Every person that you speak to holds an opinion about what education should look like, whether it is rooted in reflection on personal experiences, a vested interest in the education of one’s children, a belief about public services, an opinion about tax-dollar spending, a vision for the overall purpose of education, or any other one of the countless connections that individuals form with education. The bottom line is that everyone has an opinion when it comes to education and more often than not, we are all looking for change.

There is a fun exercise that we like to do when talking about education – we ask people to imagine their “dream school”. What does it look like? Who is inside? Who is outside? What is being learned? How are things learned? What is the overall purpose of this school? So please, go ahead and take a moment to envision your dream school.
Ours looks something like this:
·      A learning environment not bound by walls. One that counts its natural surroundings, built surroundings, peers and neighbours as crucial components of the learning landscape.
·      A place where knowledge is sought, shared and respected. One that does not rely on one voice to guide learning, but welcomes and encourages mentorship from community members and experts. One that values and honours Indigenous knowledge and the history of our land.
·      A hub that welcomes, nourishes, and supports the community. One where we do not only learn from and within the community, but actively engage with and as advocates for the community. 
·      A place where individuals are celebrated. An environment that supports students in their social, emotional, and intellectual development while fostering a space in which they can explore their curiosities and interests.
·      A student body that is mobile.  A visible force within the community that cycles, scoots, skips, and walks to their next learning adventure. Everyone who sees them pass by waves and smiles because they know, appreciate, and respect who they are.
·      A safe space that is welcoming to all.

This is our vision. This is Compass Community School.
Compass Community School is a new place-based community school, based in Vancouver, B.C, created in response to a collective desire to see change in our schools and communities. Our team is built of parents, educators, and community members with a diverse range of interests and experiences, who have all come together to imagine a new way of learning. 
It is a growing concern amongst Vancouverites that there is no sense of belonging in our communities. Everyone seems to be searching for it, and yet the feeling of belonging remains elusive. Compass hopes to change that, by bringing community into the classroom, and bringing the classroom into the community. We believe that children should be active, valued, contributing members of their communities and that they have the capacity to revitalize and reinvigorate spaces that feel stagnant and isolated.  
Now that we have told you our vision, we would love to know: What does your dream school look like? 
To us, the most heartening aspect of Compass Community School is that it is truly “of the community.” Our vision grows and evolves with each new voice that enters the conversation.  We invite you to share your voice and join us as we help build this dream into a reality.
If you would like to share your vision or find out more about Compass Community School, please contact us at or visit the Compass Community School website. 
We would like to say a special thank you to Isa Mundo Foundation for being a supportive and generous partner of ours. We deeply admire the work that Isa Mundo does internationally and look forward to being a partner in opening the first Canadian IMEC in Vancouver!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hidden Well

Blog contributed by Elaine Su and Nicole Treitz. of Hidden Well

Hidden Well is a non-profit educational organization based in Vancouver, B.C., that is devoted to redefining the relationship between schools and their wider communities. In the eyes of BC Educators and Hidden Well Founders, Elayn Su and Nicole Treitz, isolation is one of the greatest obstacles to meaningful education. Teachers are isolated within classrooms, as are students within desks, and schools within communities. By encouraging teachers, students, and schools to knock down walls and embrace their wider communities, the potential for individual and community transformation is vast.
The goal of Hidden Well is to challenge current conventions within Canadian schools and to work collaboratively toward solutions for more meaningful, authentic, and interactive learning opportunities. To kickstart relationship building between schools and communities, Elayn and Nicole reached out to community members, leaders, and organizations and were humbled by their readiness to be involved in collaborative education. Imagine the potential for impactful learning and engagement when we all work together!
Hidden Well currently offers several programs that serve to encourage increased collaboration between learners and their surroundings. The School Resource Mapping program helps schools identify how partnering with local community members and organizations will support learning and satisfy provincial learning outcomes. Mentor Matching helps connect students with local professionals than can provide content specific or general guidance and hands on experience.
Most recently, Hidden Well developed a youth leadership program called Changemakers: Me, My Community, The World. Changemakers is a three-level program that is focused on social justice, leadership, and responsible citizenship. Throughout this program, youth meaningfully engage with their local and global communities and develop their roles as informed, active, and contributing citizens. Perhaps one day Hidden Well’s Changemakers can collaborate with Isa Mundo on one of their many incredible international projects!
Hidden Well hosts many dreams and visions for education and is continually enriched through new connections and voices. Fun Fact: Some of Hidden Well’s best dreaming is rooted in long talks over mochas with Isa Mundo Founder and Director, Paul Lorilla! It is the integrity, ambition, and good work of friends like Paul that continue to inspire big dreams! 
Learn more at:

Sunday, April 5, 2015


We often receive requests (mostly from Canada and the US) wanting to be involved in our work.  Our first question is whether the person or group wants to help our organization or volunteer overseas in one of the projects we support or organizations we have partnered with.  Almost 100% are interested in traveling and wanting to attain first hand experience in: international development; be immersed in local culture and language; and contribute to bettering the world.  Within the first few years of our launch, we would travel to visit communities and often sent volunteers to complete project site visits and/or volunteer for a day to learn more about projects and how they operate. We never sent volunteers to do actual hands on work until the past few years.  We have successfully partnered with organizations and individuals to travel to our projects and help complete initiatives or volunteer to help in the day to day activities in schools, orphanages and communities.

Lately, we have seen a rise in people traveling abroad to gain experience and see the world through volunteering. In our current research, we have learned that the term 'voluntourism' has created a global industry.  A recent article stated that:

"An entire industry has sprouted out of voluntourism as it increases in popularity, possibly equal to the increase in global inequality."

As voluntourism expands worldwide, not-for-profit organizations (including Isa Mundo) are being asked to assess whether it does more harm than good in communities by sending volunteers who are not well equipped or experienced to accomplish tasks they have been given or are looking for.  For Isa Mundo, we are committed to identify volunteers by matching their skills with appropriate activities or tasks. We will continue to optimize and evaluate this process and ensure that organizations and communities are receiving appropriate and quality volunteer service. At the same time, the volunteers are gaining valuable hands on skills while enriching their cultural experience.

We would like to share a CBC Doc Zone report that was recently shown this week. We feel that it is important that everyone watch this documentary as a starting point for discussion and determining if volunteering internationally is the right decision for current and future volunteers.

CBC Doc Zone - Volunteers Unleashed

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

United Nations - Millennium Development Goals

When we offiically launched the Isa Mundo Foundation in 2006, we attached our education theme and projects to one of the UN Millennium Development Goals which is to provide access to basic primary education by 2015.

We have been successful in supporting and delivering this initiative through the creation of our Isa Mundo Education Centre (IMEC) concept in developing countries.  Since our launch, we have established IMECs in the Philippines (2), Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. We hope to complete another IMEC by end of 2015 as part of our commitment to provide access to basic primary education in less fortunate students and communities worldwide.

To review the education target for 2015, visit the website at UN Millennium Development Goals for Education.

Photo Banner taken from UN Website

Friday, January 16, 2015

The HiVE

The HiVE is a co-working space located in a renovated heritage building near Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. The facility has been gathering individuals and organizations to collaborate in a shared space since 2011. There has been a global trend in working in a virtual space with start up companies, individuals and organizations trying to find affordable work spaces.  Members do not just share infrastructure and amenities - they are working in a collaborative environment that was developed to turn good ideas into reality with a focus on addressing local and global issues in a creative and meaningful way.

The HiVE, as they proudly describe on their website:

" ... supports and amplifies the social impact sector in Vancouver; we do this by mixing one-part      shared-space with one-part collaboration and a dash of love. Our community is made up of over 150 individuals and organizations within the social entrepreneurship, sustainability, tech and creative sectors all working to make the world a better place"

Isa Mundo Foundation is now a part of this community of change makers and thinkers and will continue to be in the future.  The Foundation moved into the HiVE full time in 2014 and completed our first year. During that span, we were able to meet energetic new entrepreneurs, small established businesses and potential funding opportunities. We held individual and group meetings in their open concept space and and developed ideas in their "hot desks" and open kitchen.

The idea of the HiVE fits well with our focus on finding innovative ideas to complete our projects but done in a collaborative way.  The shared space concept also aligns with what we hope to build within our own projects focusing on education and child centred facilities - one of sharing resources, information and space to better individuals and communities.

To learn more about the HiVE, please visit their website at

Photo taken from HiVE website.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year, Bonne année, Feliz año nuevo, Manigong Bagong Taon

We would like to wish a Happy New Year to everyone and all the best in 2015! And a big thank you to those who supported us and followed our work throughout the year.

It has been a great year for the Isa Mundo Foundation as we completed yet another year of community visits and project completions.

It was a very busy year of researching, emailing, networking, grant writing, travels, meetings, forming partnerships and project completions. A few highlights included:
  • A site visit to Mexico in February to see the IMEC in Volcanes, the new facility being constructed for Pasitos de Luz called Casa Connor and being introduced to the Families of the Dump organization doing great work for children and families in poor communities.
  • We completed a fundraising campaign and partnered with Red Cross to help rebuild the lives of those who suffered from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in March of this year.
  • The Electronics Recycling Association partnered with the Isa Mundo Foundation and donated used laptops and other technological supplies to support our IMEC. We are grateful for the first 25 laptops they have provided for us.
  • One of the biggest highlights of the year was help organize the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group (Rovers) trip to Puerto Vallarta and to visit the Volcanes Primary School.  After more than a year of planning, the Rovers traveled in May to complete their International Service Project over a two week period.
  • October brought us back to Mexico to complete our last project site visit of the year. The trip was to discuss how to support Casa Connor as they progress to complete the facility for the children and youth of Pasitos de Luz.  We also visited Volcanes to take photos for the Rovers of the completed kitchen for the school in order to feed the children along with constructing a storage facility and office space.
  • We are grateful for travelers who volunteered their time to take laptops and other supplies for the foundation to Volcanes Primary School in the month of November.  
 It was a busy year and we hope to have more site visits and completed projects in 2015! Stay tuned.