Villa Esperanza (Villa of Hope)
Villa Esperanza provides a residential facility for girls from La Chureca, “the dump.” The girls selected to live at Villa Esperanza are those deemed most at risk of physical and/or sexual abuse. They continue to maintain contact with their families, and the Villa Esperanza staff works with the families as well as the girls.
The girls live eight to a home with a housemother. In early 2013, a fourth home was built bringing the total number of young girls being given a chance for a better life to 24 with two more expected to arrive in January/February of 2018 with several others on a waiting list. Villa Esperanza has availability to house 32 girls.
The work of Villa Esperanza has been very successful. They have reached out to 65 girls since its inception. Many of the girls, who would never have had an opportunity to finish high school, now have the opportunity to develop skills that will enable a more comfortable and productive life.
- Three of the girls are in their first year of military nursing school. They have to complete two more years to receive their technical degree (equivalent to an Associates Degree).
- Luisa is starting classes in two vocational schools: dance and beauty school.
- Two more girls are graduating from high school and applying to the university.
- Reina is at the public university studying English and International Business.
Older girls not in high school, transition to a semi-independent living program. There, they are learning to manage their own affairs without a housemother. This is an important step in enabling them to become independent. This is an opportunity they could never have had if it were not for Villa Esperanza.
One of the biggest adjustments Villa Esperanza is making is how they work with the girls to develop their futures. Most of the girls that come to them now are older than the girls that came when the facility was first opened. The girls tend to be 12-14 years old. This means the girls will typically be with them for a shorter time; so staff has begun to work with them sooner to develop a vocational skill.
Villa Esperanza has been constructing a building (the Life Skills Center) to facilitate its vocational training. The building is expected to be completed in February of 2018. Villa Esperanza would welcome any team or individual that wishes to come there to provide some type of vocational training.
Austin Samaritans paid for and helped construct one of the houses and currently funds medical care for all the girls.
Villa Esperanza is a lovely facility run by Forward Edge International. It is where Austin Samaritans and other mission teams stay while in Nicaragua. This provides income for the home.