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.
The overall motivation to start this project was fairly simple: to provide a strong education to local children through small class sizes, quality nutrition and community engagement while simultaneously reducing pollution of the natural biosphere reserve and Maderas National Park with the use of EcoBricks. The Ometepe Bilingual School is built almost solely from 1.5 lt plastic bottles packed full of inorganic waste. Everyone can get involved in cleaning up the rural Mérida community and make a little money by "making" an EcoBrick and exchanging it for 60 cents at the Hacienda Merida. We at Hacienda Mérida consider the education of Nicaragua's population of utmost importance. 40% of the hotel's profit goes directly toward the Ometepe Bilingual School that we have built here on the hotel property. Our goal is to improve the education in the rural community in which we operate. The Ometepe Bilingual School has grades kindergarten through 3rd grade and plans to expand to 4th grade in 2017. By 2020 our goal is to be kindergarten through 6th This affords them the possibility of a better future. We are fortunate enough to be recipients of laptops for each classroom through the "one laptop per child" initiative. These computer have basic math games, books and other materials crucial to the education of our students. Unfortunately, initiatives such as these simplifies the real deep-seated problems in countries like Nicaragua; discipline, attendance, and familial participation in the education process.
Education is a crucial force for change. In Nicaragua, education needs to be radically revised. Only 2% of our children finish high school and 62% do not even reach fifth grade; as a result, 30% of the population is illiterate. Many schools can't even provide basic materials for learning such as paper, pens and books.. With a young daughter and son of his own, the proprietor of Hacienda Merida, Alvaro Molina, is deeply invested in quality education and ensuring a bright future for the nation’s children.
The Ometepe Bilingual School follows the general public school curriculum but supplements that with art, dance, social studies, civics and English classes taught by volunteers from all around the world. We believe good education is only possible in partnership with quality nutrition, clean drinking water and sanitary facilities. The best learning comes from example and experience and we ensure any teacher or volunteer is an exemplary role model for the students. Furthermore, we believe in play-based learning and we have seen time and again that children learn best when play is encouraged. They also express their feelings and thoughts best through play. We stress the importance of repetition and routine. Routine is crucial to ensure the children feel comfortable and have some predictability in their days. Repetition allows the children to retain the information they are presented in a long lasting and meaningful way. Lastly and most importantly, we are child-centered and the educational, emotional, physical and social needs of the children always come first.
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