One of the world’s most unique islands is Isla de Ometepe, located in Lake Nicaragua. This world treasure has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO (2010). The key to its future conservation is via sustainable tourism. This goal can only be achieved by making an improvement in the lives of the underprivileged children on the island.
The Ometepe Arts & Culture School awards scholarships to island students that meet basic criteria. These scholarships are the basis for enrollment and where the donors’ generosity in the development and improvement of impoverished island children’s lives make all the difference.
The Ometepe Arts & Culture School was financed by the generous donations and those of visitors to our lake front ecolodge San Juan de la Isla. Our lodge visitors have the unique opportunity to see the school in action and up close. Our school does not benefit from government funding, this is a non-profit, private project designed implemented by Nicaraguan artists and educators.
However, since political violence erupted in April of 2018, Nicaragua’s tourism has been virtually non-existent. This means the not only an economic disaster for islander’s who depend heavily on tourism incomes, but also the island children whose English and arts/culture learning are in danger of being lost.
As a project of San Juan de la Isla, the Ometepe Arts & Culture School is an integral part of our lodge’s social commitment. In fact, our lodge’s commitment to the local community goes well beyond this project and the tourism project is designed to make a positive impact on island communities, especially ones close to the lodge. We also support local public schools and many other initiatives that promote education, social justice and conservation and restoration of local ecosystems and biodiversity.
Education and empowerment will help the children of Ometepe find meaningful work with decent wages. To participate in the growing eco-tourism and cultural tourism on the island as adults, Ometepe’s children urgently need to obtain English skills and to withstand the cultural pressures of international tourism, the island children must see the value of their native culture and art, while expanding their future horizons.