Hacienda Mérida is an accessible hotel.
We have made the commitment and investment to allow everyone to enjoy the beauties of Ometepe and to participate in our mission for sustainable and responsible living. The restaurant/sitting area has ramped access as do the rooms on the second floor (even if you are not staying up here, the view of the lake is beautiful and it's a great place to read). For the day visitor or dorm user, there is a communal bathroom, shower, and sink designed for easy wheelchair use.
When was the last time you did something unselfish for someone else that turned out making you feel really good about yourself? Well, here is your chance.
The Ometepe Bilingual School at Hacienda Merida provides free English-language classes to underprivileged children from the local community. The school is funded entirely by private donations and relies on volunteer teachers. Our vision is to develop an alternative and self-sustaining educational system in Ometepe, an area of Nicaragua that does not receive much government funding. Situated on Ometepe Island, a recently declared UNESCO biosphere reserve in the middle of Lake Nicaragua.
Why is it important to teach English to local children? Ometepe, along with the rest of Nicaragua, has a fledgling tourist industry, which brings essential income to this poor region. However, many of the local guides, hotel staff, hotel owners, and people who rely on tourism for their livelihood do not speak English. Not because they don’t want to, but because they haven’t had the chance to learn the language. That’s where we come in. We want to bridge this gap and educate a new generation of bilingual Nicaraguans who can work not only in the tourism industry, equipped with vital language skills that will ensure their professional success and the island’s continued economic growth, but help Nicaragua move forward on many fronts…led by the children we are now helping get a better education.
Since our humble beginnings three years ago, we have had many success stories. We are particularly proud of 16-year old student Horacio Hernández and 12-year old Alberto Lanuza. The two boys attend the local high school in the village of Merida in the Maderas National Park, while also taking full advantage of the free English classes we provide at Hacienda Merida. In addition, our sponsorship program is sending them to Ave Maria University English language Institute - an USA accredited institution in San Marcos (mainland Nicaragua) on the weekends. Here they are making excellent progress in their internationally recognized English-language program. Horacio has recently graduated to the 5th and Alberto to the 4th level of the program and they are in top of their class. It is not easy task for Horacio and Alberto, they rise at 4:00 AM every Saturday to travel four hours each way by motorbikes, ferry, taxis, and chicken buses to do this.
Recently we funded and additional six of our students between the ages of 12 and 17 years to travel to Ave Maria English Language Institute and take the placement test for Saturday English classes. While our sponsorship program has given Horacio and Alberto these wonderful opportunities, we simply cannot afford to help other local children on our own. We need your support. Your donation will help to cover the cost of transportation, tuition fees, meals, and books. We expect to have another 10 to 15 students emulating these success stories during the next 3 years. But we can do so much more with your help.
The program is divided into 14 levels, each level consists of 10 weeks of language training and costs $320.00 per level. This amount includes tuition for 10 weeks, books, transportation and meals. There are no administrative costs. All donated funds go directly into a special scholarship fund set up by the administrator, Alvaro Molina, founder of Hacienda Merida.
Our efforts are reaping additional benefits for the children... Recently we were contacted by the Associate Dean of Admission from Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, offering scholarships for students between the ages of 13 and 16 years. The English language skills our program provides are a key part of this opportunity. Our bilingual school in Merida is taking on the challenge with parental support.
In order to prepare Ometepe kids for a preparatory school education in the U.S., we need to improve dramatically and quickly their English skills. Although a great resource, the Saturday program at Ave Maria University takes too long. A better solution for college-bound students is to enroll them full time in the Ave Maria Language Institute Academic Program. The program is excellent and runs for 8 months. The cost per child is $525.00 per month. This amount covers books, monthly tuition, transportation, personal expenses , lodging and food.
Please help gifted students like Horacio and Alberto reach their full potential. Your donation can make the difference between a lifetime of poverty, or a world full of opportunities and hope. Just click on the Donations section in our website and you can make it happen.