Since Ethical Bean was founded in 2003, partial proceeds of sales have supported community development projects in Guatemala; a country very close to the hearts of Ethical Bean owners Lloyd Bernhardt and Kim Schachte. As Ethical Bean has grown so have our donations. We’re particularly proud of the direct impact our growth has had on the work of Child-Aid in El Tejar, and Project Somos in Tecpen. Thanks to the efforts of Child-Aid and Project Somos, the children of these communities are gaining valuable tools and experiences that will positively influence the bright future ahead of them.
The news we hear about many Central American countries is often tumultuous, and 2012 was no exception. In Guatemala we saw everything from earthquakes requiring the evacuation of over 30,000 residents, to political unrest and injustice lingering from the civil war in the 1980s. However, on the brighter side, we present the following updates on Child Aid and Project Somos. Two projects making direct impacts on the small communities of El Tejar and Tecpen.
Ethical Bean’s relationship with Child-Aid is as old as the company itself, and once again we are humbled to hear about the literacy and educational support they are providing for teachers and students in Guatemala. Over the years, Child-Aid has partnered with local vocational schools and international donors to provide books, build libraries, train teachers, and jump-start new generations through their Reading for Life program.
In El Tejar, Ethical Bean’s scholarship covers enrollment fees, uniforms, school supplies, and books for 78 primary school students and 29 middle school students. In addition to the regular literacy, reading and skills development cultivated through library projects, an arts and music program has also recently been added to the community (thanks to the additional donations by LEAF). We are ever impressed by the success of these students, both learning the tools to be independent thinkers and excel in the arts.
Some additional highlights from the work:
- Sending a selection of music students to North Carolina to play with other students their age
- Sponsorship of a nutrition program for kids
- Covering the expenses of parent-teacher meetings and workshops for parents
- Maintaining a community library
Ethical Bean is in its third year of support for Project Somos, an NGO in the process of building seven homes in the town of Tecpan, Guatemala. Ultimately the homes will house Guatemalan foster Moms with a goal to create a community and sense of family for orphaned children. The vision to build a children’s village started in 2007 and grew out of the hearts and minds of Heather Knox and Greg Kemp, a couple from Vancouver now based in Tecpen.
What started as an idea to nurture and support orphaned and abandoned children in Guatemala has become the project of a global village, thanks in part to a partnership with El Camino Voluntours who are bringing the helping hands of many from Canada and the US. Heather and Greg have done an amazing job of combining the resources of both local and international skillsets. Guatemalans and international visitors are working side by side; creating shared learning experiences and incredible memories for all involved.
Among the countless positive changes coming from Project Somos this year, some highlights include:
- Two homes are approaching completion, furnished with eco-brick interior walls and sand-bag exterior walls
- The adoption of 14 walls, 1 bed, 1 bed dressing, 70 planted trees, and 5 toiletry kits by donation
- Electricity at the house. The things you take for granted!
Learn more about the on-going work of Child-Aid here.
Learn more about the building and construction efforts at Project Somos here.