I can make a difference.

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On Saturday, April 16, 2016, Ecuador was devastated by the worst earthquake to shake its shores in nearly seven decades. One week later, the death toll is at 650, more than 12,000 people are injured, and hundreds are missing.

Carol Kovatch’s middle school Spanish class in Santa Rosa, California read last week’s  special edition of EL MUNDO EN TUS MANOS about the earthquake. An aspiring artist and Spanish student named Gianina decided that she wanted to make a difference. She decided to use one of her paintings as a raffle fundraiser at her school for earthquake relief efforts. Gianina and her Spanish class are selling raffle tickets at their school for $1.00 per ticket, and all proceeds will be donated to Ecuador. Their goal is to raise $500.00.

Arte para ecuador Mundo en tus manos
Click on the image to download the article about Gianina

Señora Kovatch shared Gianina’s story with me on Twitter, and I was inspired by her story. If one student can lead one Spanish class to make a small difference, what could many Spanish students in many Spanish classes around the world accomplish by working together? Gianina is teaming with The Comprehensible Classroom to encourage other Spanish students to follow her lead! I have written an article about Gianina in a second Special Edition EL MUNDO EN TUS MANOS, available for free here. We have created a CrowdRise fundraiser, and Gianina has agreed to donate a second painting to anyone that contributes. Once you have donated to the campaign, please enter your email address in this form to be entered in the drawing for Gianina’s painting. We will do the drawing on Saturday, May 7, and we will mail the painting to the winner.

Gianina’s hope is that other Spanish students will be inspired by her example. Read the article with your students, then have them ask themselves, “What can I do?” I–Martina–can make information comprehensible to Spanish students and use my platform to publicize this fundraiser. Like Carol Kovatch, you–Spanish teachers–can teach your students about the target culture in the target language using articles like the one that I put together for this week. Like Gianina, you–Spanish students–can use your talents to make a difference.

Individuals and groups can donate. Encourage your students to use their talents to do a fundraiser at your school, then contribute the proceeds to this CrowdRise campaign. Let’s see just how big an impact Spanish students around the world can make when we work together, each doing what we can and contributing toward a larger goal! Even if you feel ill-equipped to run a fundraiser at your school, you can share this CrowdRise fundraiser through social media and encourage your classmates, teachers, friends, and family members to donate. Gianina is spreading the word via her public Instagram account, @gianinadraws. You can also share the fundraiser from The Comprehensible Classroom’s Facebook page.

All proceeds will be donated to the Samaritans Purse Ecuador Earthquake Relief fund. Samaritans Purse is a Christian organization, but their relief efforts are purely practical. We have chosen this organization because it is one of the most highly rated charities for disaster relief, and we hope that the fact that they are a Christian organization will not deter you from contributing. We encourage you to look up their charity rating online! We have chosen CrowdRise as our crowdfunding site because its transaction fees are the lowest of all crowdfunding sites (3 percent versus the 8 percent that sites like GoFundMe collect). CrowdRise allows us to donate the money directly to Samaritans Purse, so rest assured that neither I nor anyone else will be handling the funds at any time. We want to be good stewards of your students’  donations, making sure that the maximum percentage of each contribution reaches Ecuador’s earthquake victims! Remember to enter your email address in this form to be entered in the drawing for Gianina’s painting on May 7!


  1. Hi, THanks for sending us all this wonderful information. I was just checking if you have something about the celebration and commemoration of the day of the Spanish language “El dia del Idioma Espanol” on April 23rd. I am from Colombia and all the Spanish speaking countries celebrate this in many diferent ways including the day of literature or the day of the novel ( El dia del libro). I always celebrate this with my students and we introduce the reading of the El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, of course the shortest version for the Spanish classes.


    El Día del Idioma Español tiene su origen en el año 1926 , cuando el escritor valenciano Vicente Clavel Andrés propuso la idea de un día especial para celebrar la literatura. La tradición comenzó en Valencia y se diseminó gradualmente en toda España . En 1964, la celebración fue adoptada por todos los países hispanohablantes. El 23 de abril se celebra el Día Mundial del Idioma Español en honor al escritor Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra , quien murió el 23 de abril del año 1616 y cuya novela “El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha” está considerada la obra cumbre de la lengua español. En la misma fecha, pero del calendario juliano, murió William Shakespeare . También murieron en diferentes años, el peruano Inca Garcilaso de la Vega y Vladimir Nabokov (en 1899). En algunos países se conmemora a la vez el Día del Libro. Objetivo

    Esta conmemoración pretende no sólo ayudar a difundir y dar impulso al uso de esta lengua, sino promover su sana utilización, no debe tener un carácter exclusivamente académico y escolar, sino por el contrario, debe extenderse a todos los sectores de la sociedad, porque la defensa del idioma, su cuidado y uso correcto inducen a mantener las tradiciones culturales de un pueblo, pues es un elemento de identificación cultural que afecta al grupo.

    Toda la transmisión de ideas y los contactos intelectuales, la interpretación de bibliografías y medios de comunicación orales y escritos, así como la conversación e intercambio cotidiano de pareceres, tiene una base en común: el idioma; elemento imprescindible y cargado de acervo costumbrista.

    On Sat, Apr 23, 2016 at 5:18 PM, The Comprehensible Classroom wrote:

    > Martina Bex posted: “On Saturday, April 16, 2016, Ecuador was devastated > by the worst earthquake to shake its shores in nearly seven decades. One > week later, the death toll is at 650, more than 12,000 people are injured, > and hundreds are missing. Carol Kovatch’s middle schoo” >


    1. It is briefly mentioned in the April 25 issue of EL MUNDO EN TUS MANOS, in an article about the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death. Wish I had seen your post before I published this week’s edition, I could have written more about the day!


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