Project Somos is a Children’s Village in Guatemala which aims to break the cycle of poverty within the local community by providing healthy food and education to those who need it the most. Founded by two benevolent individuals (one of whom is Canadian), this project engages with local children to provide nutritional programs and education so that they don’t fall through the cracks of the traditional Guatemalan system.
In August, twelve 'Flighties' (as we proudly like to refer to ourselves) visited Project Somos for the second time on our Annual Charity trip. Each Flightie raised well over the required $1000 to participate and a total of $35,000 was raised this year, all of which went directly to the Project.
Some scary statistics exist in Guatemala. Over 25% of the population is illiterate, with illiteracy rates over 60% in the indigenous population. Almost one-half of Guatemala’s children under the age of five are chronically malnourished, which is amongst the highest malnutrition rates in the world.
Michelle MacMillan from our team at King St West in Toronto, says "Voluntourism can be complicated to unpack but I think the driving forces are simple: the love for travel and the desire to contribute. I wasn’t prepared for the extreme poverty but was refreshed by the pure magic created through the hope and dedication of people wanting to make a difference. I'm forever grateful to have had the chance to experience meaningful voluntourism and look forward to my next visit.”
This eco-sustainable educational community Project provides at-risk children with the chance to engage with volunteers who provide training and classes on everyday topics such as hygiene and nutrition. Some of our team worked to help with some light construction, landscaping and gardening but a lot of the time was spent with the kids in the kitchen, teaching them some of the fundamentals such as how to safely use kitchen utensils and the importance of keeping the kitchen and food clean. In addition to providing these opportunities for the children, the Project also supports the children’s families by providing vocational training and support to the mothers, as well as parenting classes in nutrition and hygiene.
Caroline Everett (Operational Leader of BC) recounts her experience: “This year I decided that I wanted to do something meaningful as I turned 50. When the opportunity arose to join the Annual Charity trip to Guatemala, it fit what I was looking for perfectly. As a mother myself, I felt profoundly changed by having the opportunity to spend a week at the project, working with the children to break the cycle of poverty in a very poor country. It was an incredibly important and heartwarming experience.”