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This high school built by Waves of Hope opened last year with 75 students and now has 140. It has six classrooms, a computer lab, a library, a teaching greenhouse and a rain water catchment system that holds water for toilets.

The donors: Jamie Collum, Ben Orton and Earl Cahill

The gift: Creating Waves of Hope

The reason: To fund educational and health programs in Nicaragua

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When Jamie Collum, Ben Orton and Earl Cahill graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2002, they travelled to different parts of the world.

A few years later, the friends reunited in Guatemala and spent some time touring Central America. During that trip, they fell in love with Nicaragua and made plans to open a small beach resort near Chinandega, along the country's west coast. They returned to Canada, drew up a business plan, found jobs and spent several years earning money to pay for the venture. They also decided to start a Canadian charity called Waves of Hope to raise money for children around Chinandega.

In 2009, the trio opened El Coco Loco Resort and launched Waves of Hope. Since then, the charity has raised about $250,000 and funded a variety of projects, including the building of schools, paying for scholarships and providing clean water systems.

"It has been amazing," said Mr. Collum, who lives in Nicaragua with the others. "It is so rewarding being able to see things happen here. It's a great life."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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