I hope all is well with you. As 2022, our 20th Anniversary, draws to a close it is worth reflecting on what has been a year of rebuilding after the pandemic with full classrooms and sharing with you our plans for 2023 and the years ahead.
Access to full-time education from primary school to university will always be our number one priority though we are also aware that in times of hardship, employment opportunities are scarce even with an education. The pandemic, the effects of climate change which for years have been plain to see where we work and the current cost of living crisis are prime examples of these additional real-life obstacles facing our communities who already live with extreme difficulties.
The implementation of sustainable family and community income plans is key to ensuring independent economic stability no matter how the macro environment is faring and, after education, will be a priority for our work over the coming years.
We have learned so much over the past twenty years in Latin America, the highs and the lows and we plan to use this extensive knowledge we have garnered to benefit not only the communities where we currently work though also to implement new projects in other communities. The goal is the same wherever: sustainable full education and economic security.
Classes finally got back underway in Perú with an increased number of students after more than two years out due to the pandemic with plenty to be done for the children’s education. Thanks to the visit of the students from Impington Village College, UK, our first sustainable plan was introduced in the desert; a fully irrigated vegetable garden for the children’s school meals. A new classroom was also built as well as painting and one-on-one teaching to help bring the children up to speed.
With restrictions being lifted due to the pandemic we were able to celebrate Mother’s Day as well as other cultural celebrations. Sadly due to political unrest we had to postpone the already postponed end-of-year trip for the students until 2023! The likewise postponed Inca Trail Charity Challenge finally went ahead and was a great success.
Our plans for 2023 include welcoming an increased number of students now that we have four classrooms as well as expanding Plan Huerto to increase the school meals and help the local families. We also plan to identify new communities to work in over the coming years.Thank you so much to you all for helping us get this far and we hope you will continue to support our work for years to come as we face the known and unknown issues facing Latin American communities now and in the future.
This year was a very successful year in Guatemala as many of our scholarship students graduated from secondary school and college with some budding business administrators now seeking employment!
For them to even get this far is a success story with many suffering serious underlying health issues. Our students are spread over seven communities around the lake though they grasp the opportunity to learn, thanks to the scholarships, with both hands, making the long journeys to school each day to learn and give themselves a better opportunity.
Broken from the shackles of the pandemic and its restrictions on movement, the students were busy during the year taking on community projects including planting hundreds of trees and rubbish collecting.
Looking forward to 2023 we plan to add more students to the scholarship programme taking the number well over one hundred whilst also expanding Plan Costura, our sewing business for single mothers. As all proceeds are shared between the mothers, they are able to provide for their children, especially with materials and extra costs for primary school. With this, we are helping to provide education from start to finish. We will also continue our tree-planting scheme as part of our overall Phoenix action to combat climate change.
Full classes were held throughout the year for children from four rural Andean communities in Ecuador and we were able to celebrate full cultural celebrations for the first tie since the pandemic including Pawkar Raymi (asking Pachamama – Mother Earth – for a good harvest), Fanesca over Easter, Mother’s Day, graduate trips in July, colada morada for Day of the Dead and of course, Christmas!
We were also able to restart the implementation of Plan Moo whereby we buy milking cows which are looked after by local families and the income generated by milk and future calves’ milk is shared between them and the school’s costs. Plan Moo has been an essential part of our secondary school and college programme since 2008 and bringing more students into the scheme is paramount for the future of the communities.
We will continue with our six local teachers in 2023 in the central school for the four communities. We plan to increase the Plan Moo herd to help sustainably cover their salaries in the future. We also plan to implement Plan Cuy and Plan Huerto in the communities to ensure further income for the families and the school.
The process of identifying new communities to work with in the coming years is also underway whereby extra teachers in the local schools will be paid for from the income of sustainable community income plans, ensuring their future from the start.
The community in Honduras is now fully in charge of the secondary school and college with income generated on the ground to cover costs which has always been our philosophy – that the community take charge eventually. We will continue to support the college when and where we can during 2023, especially with sustainable plans.
Have a fantastic 2023 and thank you all once again.
The first harvest in our fully-irrigated Plan Huerto is underway in Perú with the vegetables being used for meals for the children and the elderly. We are still in the trial period to find out which vegetables grow well in the desert conditions and have started hydroponic systems for herbs and strawberries. Classes continue with progress being made with the students recouping much of the education lost over the past two years.
Classes have restarted for the new academic year in Ecuador where we continue to pay for local teachers and maintaining one teacher per class. We have resumed purchasing cows in Plan Moo which will sustainably cover the teachers’ salaries in the coming years as well as providing income for the local families in the communities.
Formal classes continue in Guatemala where our scholarship students and members of the community will be planting hundreds of trees as part of our annual reforestation programme next week. They have already held litter-picking days around the communities taking the lead in educating the community on the advantages of a clean environment. Our sewing business continues with the single mothers, creating an income which they can use to pay for the education of their children and provide daily meals.
The college in Honduras continues with the students imparting more advice to the local communities about different agricultural techniques.
This year The Phoenix Projects are celebrating twenty years in Latin America and thanks to you around five thousand children, teenagers and adults have been able to receive a quality education during this time in Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Perú and previously in Brazil, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
We have built schools, extra classrooms, kitchens and energy efficient stoves, provided employment for dozens of local people, planted hundreds of thousands of trees, distributed educational materials, daily meals and hundreds of tonnes of fruit and implemented sustainable income plans on an average annual budget of around $100,000/£85,000.
Over three hundred families have benefitted from the sustainable income plans including cows, chickens, fish, guinea pigs, weaving, vegetables and small businesses.
We still have so much more we want to do over the coming years with the experience we have gained, including replicating the projects in other communities with sustainable plans covering running costs from the start.
To celebrate our 20th Anniversary we are launching this year’s Appeal today and all donations up to $50/£40 made to this page will be matched at 50% by GlobalGiving between Monday 12th September - today - until Friday 16th September. Larger donations can of course be made although the matching will only apply to the first $50/£40 and only once per individual donor.
Your continued support in helping to fund local teachers’ salaries and scholarships, school materials, food and sustainable income plans is as important now as it has been in the last twenty years.
We realise that times are uncertain though anything you can donate to the Appeal this week by donating to this page to take advantage of the 50% matching will help us start the next twenty years in the best possible way!
Thank you so much in advance.
With normal classes back up and running after more than two years in Perú we recently had a great visit from fifty students and five teachers from Impington Village College, Cambridge, UK and thanks to their brilliant fundraising through GlobalGiving we were able to start our first sustainable irrigated vegetable garden which will provide food for the children and local families over the coming years. We also started building a new kitchen and storage room which will increase the size of the three classrooms (currently cooking and storage is in the actual classrooms) – it is due to finished this week! Another group were involved with painting projects including educational games on the playground floor and geographical murals as well as essential 1-1 teaching with the students. Thank you very much to all the students’ and teachers’ donors who made this all possible and of course the students and teachers themselves!
For the first time since 2019 we were able to celebrate Mother’s Day and Day of the Child in May with plenty of dance and food and this time we invited the grandparents to watch their grandchildren perform which was great to see. The first Charity Challenge since 2019 was also undertaken with the Inca Trail conquered in late May – the dates are already set for 2023!
The school year drew to a close this month in Ecuador with all the students graduating or passing on to the next grade. Due to the recent social unrest and national strikes caused by rising living costs the local teachers were unable to travel up to the school for the last two weeks of term so between our local teachers who live in the communities themselves and another teacher who stayed up in the community for the duration of the exams, the students were able to successfully finish the year. As a graduation celebration we paid for the students to take a day out on Lake San Pablo and enjoy a hearty meal. We also celebrated Mother’s Day and Day of the child with plenty of dance and food. Over the coming months we plan to invest in more sustainable plans including Plan Moo and Plan Cuy to help to generate income for the schools and the families; something critical in this time of rising living costs.
The school year continues for all our college students in Honduras with mid-term exams completed. Work was also conducted on the sustainable income plans with smaller versions being started in the communities so the families can grow their own vegetables and generate income. With the global situation causing excessive increases in day-to-day basic living costs these plans will help the families ride the current storm now and into the future. We have seen other local organisations implement our sustainable plan ideas which is a great thing as our funding can only go a small way. By educating other organisations to do the same thing we are all fighting for the same cause which is sustainable education and income for all the families.
In Guatemala our scholarship students continue to receive in-class teaching which over the past few months has involved electronics! It is key to receive vocational classes for future jobs. With our sustainable sewing project teaching many single mothers and the vocational subjects the students receive at school we should see many more opportunities in the future to generate income for the local families. Over the coming months we plan to plant more trees on behalf of the students to help with climate change which they themselves will be involved with for their graduation in October. We also plan to build a new sewing centre for the single mothers in the next couple of months as numbers increase. Whilst there is demand, donations permitting, we will aspire to do all we can do to help the local families generate their own income.
For all our donors who live in Ireland, Wales and England we are arranging some individual day fundraising hikes and events in September including Dublin on 17th, Kinsale on 19th, Anglesey on 22nd, Chester on 24th and The Peak District on 26th. If you happen to be in the area and want to join us please do get in touch by replying to this email or heading to the website link at the bottom of this page. As we strive to regain our momentum and funding post-pandemic, fundraising events play such a key role so if you have any in mind, no matter how small or big, please do let us know and thank you so much.
We already have the dates for our major charity challenges in 2023 including The Lost City challenge in Colombia between 6-13th May and the Inca Trail in Perú between 8-15th July. If you are interested in either please do get in touch by replying to this email or following the 2023 Charity Challenges link at the bottom of the page.
Thank you all for your continued brilliant support, without which our work would be impossible. We realise the current cost of living crisis has added to the hardships of the past couple of years so everything you can continue to do to support our work is very much appreciated – thank you!
I hope all is well with you. To give us a huge boost this week (Monday 4th to Friday 8th April) GlobalGiving will be 50% matching all individual donations to this page of up to $50 which is a fantastic opportunity for the projects as we aim to recover from the past two years and build towards a better sustainable future. If you can it would be fantastic if you could donate this week and your donation will go even further.
With 2022 now three months old it is already very different to the previous two years with all the students back in the classroom finally. We are aiming to maintain all the classrooms secure for daily teaching with cleaning products available. Looking ahead donations permitting, whilst continuing to cover our daily costs of the projects, we aim to make a concerted effort to implement family sustainable income plans with small enterprises over the coming months. Thanks to your continued support we have managed to keep the projects going through these hard times and once again, with your donations, we hope to be in a position to move forwards with confidence – thank you!
In Guatemala our one hundred secondary, college and University scholarship students are finally back in the classroom after two years. Many are mature students with serious underlying health conditions who couldn’t continue studying without the scholarships.
Plans are underway to build a bigger space for our Plan Costura sewing project for single mothers with more mothers entering the programme as the income earned helps them with any extra costs for their children in primary school, like textbooks. We are now helping to cover education from primary school to University, which was our original aim.
This year we are concentrating on college education in Honduras with the students studying various agricultural techniques as part of their course. For the past year we have used a piece of land for them to gain experience in preparation, sewing, maintenance and harvest of various crops. They will use this knowledge for their own family vegetable gardens with proceeds helping the household costs like medicine, food and school supplies.
Also as part of the curriculum the students head out into the communities to give talks to the families covering various topics including hygiene, malnutrition and agricultural techniques. Earlier in the year they weighed infants to check for malnutrition.
Ecuador restarted the second half of the school year in January. Whilst all the other grades returned to full-time daily classes the little ones will continue to come to school two to three times a week for the time being. Pawker Raymi was celebrated asking Pachamama (Mother Earth) for a successful growing season and harvest. It is very important for the community to continue with these traditions stretching back over hundreds of years.
Once the school year finishes in June we will turn our attention to investing in a wide range of sustainable family income enterprises. This extra income will help with daily costs like food which cannot be grown, medicines and extra school supplies as well as further education costs. Our aim is that all education up to and including University will be covered in the communities with these sustainable plans.
Perú finally got back into the classrooms at the end of March for the first time since December 2019. Student numbers have swelled as more families migrate from the altiplano and jungle to try and find work in Arequipa though end up in the pueblos jovenes on the outskirts of the city in the desert where we work.
In the next few months we hope to build school vegetable gardens for the daily food programme and also implement various family sustainable income plans to help with household costs.
All the best for April and thank you in advance for your continued support.
As 2021 draws to a close we would like to thank first and foremost all our local teachers for continuing to teach the students to the best of their ability with the resources available, whether this was in limited classroom-based environments or heading out to their homes when they could to give out and collect homework and set topics in the students’ textbooks. Only Ecuador and Honduras resumed staggered group teaching during 2021 with Guatemala and Perú set to resume actual classes in February and March respectively in 2022. Thank you also to everyone who has supported the projects this year in what has once again been a very difficult time all round.
Our first priority is obviously to keep the projects going and the students educated. Once this has been achieved we can start implementing more sustainable income plans with the families which will provide them, and the schools, with continued income into the future.
In Ecuador we will continue with our seven local teachers as each class now has a teacher which was our aim from when we started back in 2005! Over the coming months we hope to invest in many new sustainable plans in the four communities where we work to help cover the costs of the school, in particular in Plan Moo and Plan Cuy which have already helped to cover secondary, college and University costs for the past several years.
We are increasing the number of secondary, college and University scholarship students in Guatemala to one hundred from seven different communities. Many are mature students with serious underlying health conditions who couldn’t continue studying without the scholarships. We will be building a bigger area for our Plan Costura sewing business for single mothers as demand is outstripping available space! More mothers are entering the programme as the income helps them with any extra costs for their children in primary school, like textbooks. As with Ecuador, we are now helping to cover education from primary school to University through scholarships and sustainable plans, which was our original aim.
Our priority in Honduras will continue to be secondary and college education in rural areas with more emphasis placed on the latter. More support has been made available for primary schools in the area over the last few years so we can dedicate all our funds to further education and continuing to implement sustainable plans, in particular Plan Huerto and Plan Tilapia. With migration an often dangerous and serious issue in the communities due to lack of opportunities it is paramount we create these opportunities through further education. Due to the broad-based and hands-on curriculum in our college the graduates are sought-after with local NGOs and businesses which is a great start.
Our work in Perú has been hit the hardest by restrictions put in place due to the pandemic with the school not due to be re-opened until March next year. The teachers have travelled to the community when allowed and we have supplied textbooks for the children to work with from home. Once the school re-opens we plan to help local University students with their studies in exchange for part-time help in the school to bring the children back to the appropriate level per grade. Funds permitting we will then add more full-time local teachers to have one teacher per grade (currently one for two grades). We also plan to start investing in sustainable plans to help with further education.
We will also be supplying sufficient biosecurity products to keep the classrooms and schools as safe as possible each day as well keeping up with our food programmes, help for the elderly when we can and planting over 1,000 trees to reduce the carbon footprint of the daily transport of the projects thanks to the Appeal.
Thank you all once again for your continued support and all the best for 2022.
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