Global Activism: Fighting a kidney disease epidemic in Nicaragua

May 17, 2012

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(Photo by Constantino Schillebeeck)
A community member of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua makes his way home.

It’s Thursday, and time for our Global Activism segment. Each Thursday, we hear about someone who works to make the world a better place.

Filmmaker Jason Glaser was making a documentary about banana workers in Nicaragua when he found himself in the middle of a medical mystery that changed the course of his career.

While filming, Glaser met Juan Salgado, a community organizer from Candelaria, Nicaragua. Salgado told him about an epidemic of kidney disease occurring in Candelaria and La Isla, neighboring villages in the municipality of Chichigalpa. The disease ravaged agricultural laborers working on a local sugar-cane plantation. Salgado was a former plantation worker who was fired when he first showed signs of kidney disease.

Glaser created the La Isla Foundation to help people like Salgado. He joins us Thursday to tell us why and to shed light on the epidemic's mysterious causes.

Jason Glaser speaks Friday May 18 at the La Isla Foundation Summer Celebration and Fundraiser. He'll present the foundation's work and answer questions at Barra Ñ at 2977 North Elston Street from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.