TALICA: The Teaching and Learning Initiative for Central America

Organization Founded: Oct 2006

City of Origin

Atlanta, GA

Country of Origin

United States

Website Address

Email Address



Genre's of Aid


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The Teaching and Learning Initiative for Central America is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the access to basic educational materials and promoting international educational partnerships that will improve the overall access to education throughout Central America. We envision life-long learning by providing materials to local community and/or school libraries in Central America. We believe by supplying these centers – which will celebrate the value of learning – we will increase the likelihood of students attending and completing school.

What We're About

It’s all about our mindset and our approach.

TALICA’s collaboration starts with traveling to various communities and visiting teachers and students. We spend many days and sometimes weeks building friendships and working relationships before we enter in to any formal partnerships or provide financial support.

Together, we observe and document what is really working well and then we facilitate dialogue about what would enhance the current classroom successes. For example, we have seen some of the most amazing teaching and dedication from educators. The teaching styles are as tailored as they can be based on the materials available. Inevitably, books are always the first thing teachers say would help them be even more successful.

“We need books in our classrooms, but they are very expensive,” they tell us.

We listen first

TALICA listens to the conversation about what types of books are needed the most, and helps educators envision what could be possible in the area of building book collections. Following more in-depth conversations, we create “wish lists” of books with the most important at the top. The local educators find bookstores and prices for each book to create purchase orders for TALICA. This is no easy task, since many of the educators we collaborate with live in the midst of tropical forests or on isolated islands, away from the Internet and modern stores.

Together we figure out the needed information, and money is allocated for each school based on need. We then make the long journey to Managua using public transport and a private truck to purchase books and return to the school. The books are then directly distributed into the hands of teachers and their students.

By listening to the community, rather than imposing an outside mindset, TALICA is able to achieve unparalleled results.



Executive Director/Founder
Since 2007, Sue Ellen Wortzel has worked with rural public school communities on the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. She is the founder and acting director of TALICA: The Teaching and Learning Initiative for Central America. From the beginning Sue Ellen sought out to partner with local representatives from MINED, school directors, teachers and other organizations doing similar work in the area. She believes building relationships with as many people as possible is the key to helping communities reach goals that bring about positive social and educational change. She holds a M.Ed. in Reading, Language, and Literacy. Before her work with TALICA, Sue Ellen worked for the Gwinnett County Georgia Board of Education where she was a reading and literacy specialist and classroom teacher. Currently, she is the facilitative leader/director at The Language Garden, a Spanish immersion preschool in Atlanta, GA.