La Isla is a small community located on the outskirts of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua in the Central America lowlands. Its sole economy is the sugar cane industry which relies on young men desperate to provide for their families ensuring an endless supply of labor. The wage they can earn cutting sugar cane makes the work worth it despite the fact that some 70% of men working in the industry develop Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown origin (CKDu). Research done by both the University of Boston as well as the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, Leon (UNAN) has so far not yielded answers as to the cause of the disease. Meanwhile roughly 250 men are dying every year leaving their community to take on the nickname "la Isla de Viudas," "the isle of widows." The dying men range in age from 18 to 40s+ which inherently makes them the breadwinners for their families. Without their earning power the widows of the community are left to try to make ends meet for their children in numbing poverty while their sons grow up destined to swing their machetes and set fire to the ground, in the end to produce consumer grade sugar at a low price. The people of La Isla deserve dignity, can you help?
Learn more about CKDu and the global fight against it at laislanetwork.org