If you follow us a social media (Facebook & Instagram), you might notice that we offer “donation-based” yoga classes. Our yoga classes are held beach-front with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and are exclusively for La Casa guests to ensure privacy of hostel premises for our guests. For those who are unsure what our donation-based yoga classes detail, then continue reading below to find a bit more about our mission at La Casa long-term Hostel! 🙂
We don’t have a minimum or a maximum fee for our yoga classes, instead, our guests donate whatever they feel comfortable in exchange for taking our yoga classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Regardless of the amount received, 100% of the proceeds are always donated back to the community of Ayampe.
Why We Choose to Donate?
As owners of a hostel, we do make money off tourism. However, we believe that the responsible thing to do is to ALWAYS give-back and support our community. Before offering yoga classes, the donations to our community came out of our pockets, but eventually there is only so much one household can donate. So we decided to be creative and offer a new service for our guests (yoga classes!) and donate all of the proceeds back to our community. Basically, a win for everyone! Love for yourself and love for our community 🙂
Our Future Donation Plans
2018 and 2019 consisted of big movements, grand changes, and huge improvements across the board for our lovely community and we would love to carry this momentum into 2020. So what does this mean for you (aka La Casa guests)? We have decided that the best way to continue to provide steady donations to our community is to add a “tourist donation tax” for our guests. This means that in 2020, we will be increasing our prices by 10% and our weekly yoga classes will be included in your stay, so free yoga classes for La Casa guests! (And, yes, we will be making improvements to our facilities too, because we believe that if we raise our prices, we must improve our services too). The 10% price increase will ALL be donated back to our community. This way we can continue to provide more consistent financial aid to support new and continuing projects, such as maintenance for our local elementary school. The reality is, as a community, we still depend greatly on volunteers and donations to help us as we receive very little from our government. And, as members of this community, we will continue to support all projects that better our community as a whole. We hope our guests can understand and appreciate the fact that while on vacation, you are helping improve our town too.
What Projects Have YOUR Donations Supported?
Ayampe Community Hostel: The Ayampe Community Hostel was completed this past year. Previously it was a balcony, but through donations from our yoga classes, those who live in our community, and a crowdfunding campaign, we were able to build and finish the hostel. It has two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a kitchen, and living room area. The Community Hostel is where volunteers can work in our community in exchange for housing. Currently, the Community Hostel is being used to house two teacher volunteers supporting our local Elementary School.
Built a New Playground for Kids in Ayampe: This was truly a united, community effort. This park was built by locals who donated their time to physically build this park. With the help of donations, the district government, and the Ayampe community as a whole we built a beautiful park for all the kids to enjoy! The first official kids park in Ayampe built with love!
Improvement of the Local Medical Center in Ayampe: The Ayampe medical center is free for the community and tourists. While there are many improvements to still be made, this “minga” (or clean-up) included fixing the facilities (i.e. roof and walls), repaint, plant grass and various other plants, and add air conditioning.
Created a Tourist Info Center: At the Tourist Info Center, locally made artisanal crafts are sold. All crafts are made by local men and women in Ayampe. The sales of crafts are paid to those who made the crafts.
Clean and Improve the “Sport Complex” in Ayampe: Re-fill and flatten the soccer fields, add a roofed viewing area, add basketball hoops and court — next on the list is grass for the soccer field!
Remodeled the Ayampe Police Station: Completely remodeled and added bedrooms to the Police Station so Ayampe can have 24/7 on-site police to ensure the security of our town.
Improve & Beautify the Ayampe Beach Cabanas: where locals rent the cabanas as a source of income for their families
New Beach Signs & Safety Signs: to ensure all tourists who visit Ayampe understand the rules of our town and to educate appropriate ocean safety as Ayampe is a surfing beach with currents.
As you can see, as a community, we were very busy in 2018-2019 and at La Casa we will continue to support new projects for the betterment of our community.
The newest project we are happy to be apart of and support is the “Improvement & Innovation Plan” in the Ayampe Elementary School. We are so excited about this project because there is nothing more important than education. Education is the foundation to a successful life and to a successful community; and we are so excited to invest in the future of our children, which is why all of our received donations will be going towards supporting this project.
Improvement & Innovation Plan for the Ayampe Elementary School
In January 2019, Comité Pro-Mejoras Ayampe (our local government) conducted a survey in Ayampe, with over 350 individuals surveyed, regarding various concerns in our town. One of the most important concerns was the deterioration of the elementary schools’ facilities and lack of confidence in the quality of the school’s teaching methods/materials. In response to the survey, Comité Pro-Mejoras Ayampe met with the Director of Education in Manabi to get approval to improve and re-innovate the education program of our school. This new project is called the “Innovation and Improvement Plan” for the local school.
With the approval of the Ministry of Education in Manabi, Comité Pro-Mejoras is working with an international NGO (RIE – Red Internacional de Educacion) to help fund the project. RIE has experience all around the world improving and innovating schools, especially in rural areas like Ayampe. Comité Pro-Mejoras Ayampe and RIE through donations and crowdfunding were able to:
• Fix and improve the school’s facilities (i.e. fixing up parts of the school damaged by the earthquake 3 years ago)
• Provide the school with new teaching materials
• Support the current school’s staff with trained and qualified volunteers
• Use the facilities in Ayampe as a pedagogical complement, such as the fully operating computer lab, new kid’s library, new soccer and basketball fields, etc.
• Train and certify the school’s staff on the new methodology
• Provide families with new tools to improve their children’s education
This is the first year of the new school program and the children and families in our community could not be happier. For the first time ever, kids at our school finally have permission to leave their campus premises in order to supplement their classroom education. This means they get to take surf lessons, participate in beach clean-ups, take swimming lessons, play soccer at the sports complex, use the town’s computer lab for typing lessons and research, and use the new library for reading classes. Additionally, the students participate in various workshops hosted by those who live in our community, such as gardening, cooking, carpentry, learning how to play an instrument, sewing, yoga, and so much more!
And please check out this video about the school and its progress from Ecuador’s Ministry of Education!
If you would like to share your time by volunteering or donating, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) on more ways you could help the school or our community. Or, simply, pass this information along to others who may want to get involved too!
Together we can change our town for the better!
All the best,
Arian & Jose
Owners of La Casa long-term Hostel and active members of Comité Pro-Mejoras Ayampe