our work

ecolibri

is a registered non-profit organization that has partnered with indigenous communities around Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, since 2004

Our primary goal is to increase access to education exponentially, ensuring inclusive and equitable opportunities for all through an annual scholarship program for indigenous students around Lake Atitlán.

Guatemala has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the western world, with indigenous students disproportionately disadvantaged. On average, indigenous people have 2.5 years of schooling compared to 5.7 years for the non-indigenous population. Schools are underfunded and often have poor infrastructure, with few educational resources and equipment, inadequate facilities, and limited access to clean water/sanitation.

​Indigenous parents generally have less schooling than non-indigenous parents, and thus, they occupy a lower socioeconomic status. With more than 50% of the population of Guatemala living below the poverty line, many families simply cannot afford the costs of school uniforms, sports outfits, shoes, books, stationery, supplies and a healthy snack (none of which are supplied by the government). Suffering from extreme poverty, many families choose to work together to sustain themselves during the seasonal crop harvest, causing many children to drop out of school and remain illiterate.

We partner with local schools to identify the children with the greatest need of support and help them remain in school for longer, bolster confidence, increase literacy, and expand achievement. This support provides students with a more promising economic future, giving them a better chance to live a longer, healthier, and more prosperous life. ​In our program, we pair international sponsors with students, providing an annual stipend of $365 ($1 per day), for the purchase of school materials, stationery, uniforms, sports clothes, shoes, and a daily healthy snack. 

​Find out more about how to contribute to our child sponsorship program here.

UNITED NATIONS

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Our work in education contributes to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 1, 4 & 8.

Every donation is a powerful catalyst that helps people gain access to the knowledge and tools they need to sustain their lives and livelihoods. General donations contribute to the running costs of our organization including accountancy, stationary/ office, transportation, legal fees.

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SCHOOL PARTNERS
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Sponsoring a child is a commitment to improving the opportunities for a student. With your support, you can be part of changing the future. We allocate and assign sponsorship to the children in most need.

Potential sponsors can sign up to donate a minimum annual donation of $365 to our program. With this, you will be paired with a child from San Juan La Laguna and receive updates of progress throughout the year. Your donation pays for:

  • School Stationery

  • Healthy Snack

  • School uniforms, sportswear, and shoes

  • Food Basket

  • Music Instrument or Art Supplies

SPONSORSHIP

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We facilitate volunteer opportunities such as teaching, medical, recycling, permaculture, creative arts, and administrative support.

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ecolibri stories

who we are

get involved

For centuries, rural Maya people have forged a subsistence livelihood from their milpas, small rain-fed plots of land where they grow a mixture of corn, beans, herbs, and gourd vegetables. The country has one of the most unequal systems of land distribution, and with population growth, has left the most rural campesinos (peasants), with access to little arable land. After the food shortages in 2020 as a result of COVID-19, Ecolibri established a program throughout the village of San Juan La Laguna, to create an infrastructure for sustainable community farming methods. This includes a seed bank, vertical gardens, and allotments design, and an education strategy, to help alleviate malnutrition and food insecurity.

Guatemala is known for its ethnic diversity and creativity. In 2011, we launched Scarfitecture, a unique collaboration between indigenous female artisans of Lake Atitlan with seven internationally-renowned architects. The challenge was to translate architectural drawings into a collection of scarves using weaving, embroidery, natural hand-dying fibers, and recycled materials. 

In the past Ecolibri has collaborated with international teams to construct and install sustainable stoves in homes throughout the Lake Atitlán region, to help combat toxic pollution in the home generated by open fires. These stoves help to remove toxic smoke from inside the home and use considerably less wood.

According to the United Nations, "COVID-19 is pushing rising rates of hunger and food insecurity even higher globally." In our communities, disruptions in food supply chains, income losses, widening social inequities, an altered food environment, and price hikes triggered food shortages throughout 2020. One of the most important symbols and practices at the heart of Mayan cultural identity is the production and consumption of corn, it is the staple food that connects communities as a way of life. In response to the food crisis, we fundraised over $20,000 to provide corn to over 365 families throughout the village of San Juan La Laguna. This video documents the first delivery of food aid in April 2020.

The adobe mudbrick is a traditional building material used historically in Guatemala to construct homes. As part of our series on discovering and documenting natural sustainable materials used in the country, in this video, we talk to a builder in San Juan La Laguna who demonstrates how the bricks are cast, the materials from which they are made, and how the building techniques have changed over the years in the village.

eco

colibrí

Spanish (n.)

a hummingbird