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Eight years, 125 homes and a school for Nicaragua

Karl Seger, third from right in front row, and a group of volunteers recently completed a school for 195 students in Nicaragua.

The Donor: Karl Seger

The Gift: Raising $800,000, building 125 homes and climbing

The Cause: Bridges to Community Canada

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The Reason: To build houses and schools in Nicaragua

About eight years ago, Karl Seger was part of a group of business people who went to Nicaragua with Bridges to Community Canada, a charity that builds houses in a remote region of the country.

The group built two houses during the week-long trip and Mr. Seger left feeling an urge to do much more.

"We decided after this, this is a great idea and we're going to do it every year," he recalled from his office in Toronto, where he is president of Falcon Lumber Ltd.

Since then, Mr. Seger has not only helped to organize annual building trips, each involving up to 32 Canadian business people, but he has also begun bringing school groups to Nicaragua and expanding the charity into other projects, such as providing clean water supplies and latrines.

So far the organization has built 125 houses, each bearing a small Canadian flag, with the help of local volunteers.

It also recently completed a school for 195 students in an impoverished region near the Honduran border.

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Money for the projects is raised largely by the participants on each trip, who cover their travelling costs and raise about $4,000 each, roughly the cost to build one home.

Mr. Seger is planning to return in November with a group that will build another school and he hopes eventually to build up to 500 houses in the area.

"It's humbling," said Mr. Seger, adding that his 17-year-old daughter went on one trip recently and is now involved in the charity.

"We are donating time and money, something which we take for granted. You almost get more out of it than we are giving."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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