There are many ways you can help us. Of course we depend on financial donations, but you can help is many other ways. We need support from people and groups like you to continue our work and expand our programs.
The Alianza de Solentiname (Solentiname Solidarity Alliance) is a 501-(c)3 nonprofit organized in the United States and Nicaragua… 100% of all money or services received go directly to our programs. Administrative overhead costs are covered by BattenKill Canoe, an adventure tour operator in Vermont, and will not come out of your contribution.
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Welcome to the Alianza
Thank you for your interest in volunteering in Solentiname. It is a very special place and we hope you will share our passion.
Jim and Carolyn, founders of the Alianza first came to Solentiname in the mid 90’s, and our organization and work started in earnest in 2002. We now have two paid local staff, our coordinator and Leer Solentiname coordinator a primary school teacher in Solentiname and several long term volunteers. We have a small computer sala and a working Board in Nicaragua. 100% of all donations go into programs. We have many projects on the stove, and we have more projects awaiting funds and/or volunteers. ALL of our projects are suggested by the community, researched by the community, and prioritized by our Directiva in Solentiname.
Our programs recognize the delicate nature of the culture, community and change. We know that temporary solutions or hand-outs usually do more harm than good. We therefore strive to empower local residents, as partners with a sustainable approach to our work that recognizes the long-term impact and viability of priorities of the Alianza. The Solentiname Solidarity Alliance and its volunteers listen as collaborators, and learn from the community before acting on their behalf.
Our work as a partnership: It is a partnership of equals, people connecting with one another for the common good. Sometimes, volunteers have a clear vision of what you might be able to contribute, but it is OK if you don’t, just take our community seriously, because it is just that, our community. And finally, we are the Alianza de Solentiname: we are part of the community of Solentiname; we are a partnership of neighbors.
Volunteer Philosophy and What to Expect?
There are many different philosophies regarding volunteer work, program costs and donations from volunteers, as well as volunteer responsibility. Over the years our philosophy has evolved…Everyone, all volunteers are welcome, but we all must be concerned about “how we fit in” and since generally we do not have the luxury of a face to face interview we often meet here in Solentiname for the first time. We are a small organization with limited funds, so we are not able to offer stipends for lodging and/or living expenses to new volunteers, no matter how qualified and/or interested you might be. Our philosophy is that all volunteers start out as short term volunteers, responsible for their expenses to give you time to learn about Solentiname, to get to know us and for us to get to know you. It is a partnership. We start with a written proposal of your duties and expectations. Hopefully by the end of your first month, for longer term volunteers, we will meet to refine your job description and create a new agreement. At the end of three months, we will meet again to evaluate your performance, as well as our priorities to see how we can improve the match. At that time we will review financial options. The Alianza is a small organization, doing some very important work with limited funds, and we are not able to divert money to subsidize new volunteers. Please understand as well, that Solentiname is a poor community, and it just is not appropriate for foreign volunteers to request a subsidy from local residents in Solentiname.
Typically Alianza Volunteers and Interns are dynamic, motivated and enthusiastic about their work, flexible about the kind of work that they do and able to adapt quickly to a new environment and new people. As much as volunteers want to help Nicaraguans the greatest work you can do is within yourself. As you see, hear, and touch the lives of Nicaraguans you will change. The people of Solentiname, while poor, are simple and proud peoples, and have done just fine before we all came, and will do fine after we leave. We may help a little as volunteers to facilitate change in their society.
We believe that this is a full time job, and you should expect to work between 35 and 50 hours per week. Generally we do not schedule classes or activities on Tuesdays, or Sundays.
Living Arrangements:There are a variety of living arrangements available to volunteers. Our preferred option for new volunteers is a home stay with the families of the Directiva of the Alianza. Hopefully they will help integrate you into our community. Room and board is 200 Córdoba a day, which is approximately $10.00/day --$300.00 a month. There is a slight reduction for Internships of over three months. Rice and beans (gallo pinto), fresh cheese and eggs are the staple of Nicaraguan meals, augmented by fish and plantains.
There are several private lodges and hospedaje available in Solentiname, where meals are served. These are more tourist oriented and more comfortable, but more expensive and would involve a significant financial supplement.
There are a limited number of private houses available for long term rent.
Deposit and Fees: We request a deposit of $300.00 for your application to be considered which serves as a deposit for your room and board, and be applied to your final months of lodging and fees. The full $300.00 will be applied to your living expenses. Fees for room and board must be paid for the month in advance, and if you leave before your commitment, the deposit is forfeited. We are not able to cover the cost of your travel to and from Nicaragua.
Donations from volunteers are encouraged and appreciated. 100% of your donation is devoted to program costs. BattenKill Canoe, Jim and Carolyn’s business in Vermont, contributes all office and overhead expenses including fundraising, so that 100% of your money and all donations are directly used in Solentiname for program expenses.
Medical: It is recommended that all volunteers with AdS come with standard vaccinations and medical coverage. Medical insurance is not provided or included. Solentiname is over two hours to nearest clinic and basic hospital in San Carlos. Major medical problems must go into Managua. We recommend that volunteers bring all prescriptions and a small first aid kit.
The Application Process: Please use the following questions as a starting point for your letter of interest. We will share your letter with folks both in Nicaragua and the USA. The goal is to get an idea of what you think about community development. There are no right answers, rather different ways of approaching the situation. Have fun and be creative in your thoughts.
Why do you want to do this?
What is your interest in working in a small rural community in Nicaragua?
What is your experience in working in small rural community groups?
List past volunteer or community service work and cross-cultural experiences. Include organization (if any), brief description of the type of volunteer work you did, and the dates of your service.
Please mention any work or living abroad experiences, and then any travel overseas.
How do you see your skills and experience fitting in?
Additional skills or certificates and other technical skills (Tech, business, CPR, health, etc), specific interests that are pertinent to your volunteership and/or internship. Please also share any specific skills, talents, or experience that could support the goals and mission of Alianza de Solentiname, but are not mentioned in our existing program and project areas. We are open to your ideas and suggestions and look forward to working with you to develop a project that fits your interests and skills.
List past leadership, professional experience and employment history including: employer, position, brief description of responsibilities, and dates of employment.
Please also talk about your concept of community education:
Please describe in detail any teaching experience you have had. Include formal classroom experience as well as informal experience, such as tutoring, coaching, or special training.
How do you motivate students who often do not have a clear idea of the future?
What problems do you anticipate?
What is your time frame of availability, and how long do you envision living and working here?
Please list any special needs that you might have.
Please email your completed application to:
, and you can process your $300.00 donation at www.solentiname.org. You can either use a credit card, or electronic check.
Welcome, thank you for your trust and we hope to hear from you soon.
We depend on voluntary donations to run our programs. The Alianza de Solentiname (Solentiname Solidarity Alliance) is a 501-(c)3 nonprofit reorgnized in the United States and Nicaragua… 100% of all money or services received go directly to our programs. Administrative overhead costs are covered by BattenKill Canoe, an adventure tour operator in Vermont, and will not come out of your contribution.
Alianza de Solentiname: En Nicragua: the Casa Alianza is located on Isla Mancarron, in the pueblo. email@example.com Telephone Service is limited, but please try: 505.8994.7289 Our offices in the USA are located with BattenKill Canoe, Ltd. at 6328 Historic Route 7a, Arlington VT. 802.549.5004 or toll free: in USA