Waves of Hope non-profit changing lives for generations
The Waves of Hope non-profit changes lives through their community-based collaborations. Learn more about this amazing organization and eco-resort from my recent interview.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your background & how you got involved with the Waves of Hope program?
Three of us, Jamie, Ben and myself (Earl), were University of Ottawa friends who re-united in Central America and backpacked through several Latin American countries over a six-month period in 2004 and 2005. During the trip we developed an idea of buying some land and opening a small eco-resort, El Coco-Loco. Along with that was an idea of establishing a non-profit that would aim to improve the quality of life for those living in our surrounding community. That idea became Waves of Hope. None of us had very much development experience, and we weren’t sure exactly how we would help, but we let it come together very organically and began by simply getting to know, and listening to the community. We then began some initial fundraising and laying out some goals based on three main areas of need: education, health care and infrastructure development.
For you, what is the most impactful or meaningful part of Waves of Hope?
Ensuring that any new program or initiative will last and be sustainable over a period of time is very difficult. Because we live in the area that we are helping, and are community members ourselves, we are able to maintain consistent contact and stay in close touch with both the locals we work with and the programs that are designed to help them. If repairs, adjustments or any others changes are required in order to help maintain the longevity a project, we are there to ensure it happens.
Is there a particular project, individual story or accomplishment that stands out for you?
In 2014 we played a major role in the fundraising and construction of a new high school. It was built ahead of schedule and under budget, in an area where there had not been a high school. Today there are over 200 students, from more than 10 neighboring communities attending the new school. We are currently fundraising in order to build four new classrooms to meet the growing need. It is by far our biggest and most significant project to date. It has sparked a positive change in the attitude and general culture of education in our greater community.
What are the goals for Waves of Hope in the future?
Adding on to the high school has become our new focus for now. In addition, there are many other programs that run consistently such as ESL classes for youth and adults, kids club activity days, a safe-turtle hatching program and much more. What we would really like to do is gradually move out of the leadership role and into more of a supportive role. There are strong, capable leaders within our community – we strive to further empower them to work with their neighbors and come together to achieve the things they require to improve their well-being. We will always be members of the community too, and will always support those around us.
What would you tell readers who are considering a service trip with Waves of Hope?
Getting to know the Nicaraguan culture and people is worth a visit alone, and perhaps the most important part of any service trip. They are warm, friendly, and happy to open their doors and share their history. Any project that Waves of Hope takes on requires a commitment from members of the community to be active in the planning, acquiring of materials, and sharing the time at the work-site. We offer groups of individuals, families and students a chance to come down and work along-side community members, share stories and help them to strengthen their community. While staying at El Coco Loco they can also enjoy healthy food, relax and perhaps try new things like surfing, yoga, volcano hiking and more.