Manos Unidas (MU) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Connecticut, United States of America that is dedicated to providing educational and vocational opportunities to deaf people in Nicaragua, Central America.
The Mission of MU is to ensure equal access to educational and vocational opportunities for deaf children and young deaf adults by providing access to sign language, Spanish literacy, numeracy, and real-life job skills so they can become contributing members of society and the Deaf community.
MU will develop community-based deaf education programs in rural areas of Nicaragua and create accredited post-elementary, post-high school, university level deaf education programs for educators, and vocational opportunities for deaf children and young, deaf adults.
Our philosophy is to create employment and integrate deaf individuals into our programs every step of the way so that in the future they can be the teachers and role models in their communities.
Dr. Marie Coppola's Radio Interview with Jerome McDonnell,Worldview
WBEZ Radio Interview Part 2:
Transcribed version: Radio Interview Part 2
Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL)
In Nicaragua in the late 1970's, Nicaraguan Sign Language emerged through the interaction of deaf individuals that had access to neither spoken Spanish nor an already established sign language. This population has proven an incredible resource for linguists in understanding the human capacity for language and communication. The beneficiaries of Manos Unidas fundraising are those deaf individuals and their families who have as yet not benefited from learning Nicaraguan Sign Language (which is now one of the nation's official languages). These people create their own gestures, called "homesigns", to communicate with their friends and family. It is out of these homesign systems that Nicaraguan Sign Language emerged, and it is these systems that Marie Coppola, Founder and Executive Director of Manos Unidas, studies.
Learn more about Marie's research here.
NSL Manual Alphabet