Xela Aid Partnerships For Self Reliance
Rating: 5 stars 34 34 reviews 1,050
111 W. Ocean Blvd. 4th Floor Long Beach CA 90802 USA
Xela AID empowers children and their families to break the cycle of poverty and to live healthier, more abundant lives through the opportunities afforded by education.
A sampling. Since its inception in 1992, Xela AID's Work-Study Program has: > Increased the number of years the average child is in school from just 3 years to 11 > Increased the percentage of girls in the program from just 2% to 53% > Vastly outperformed the norm for children without assistance: 90% of our sponsored students stay in school through age 16 vs. just 3.3% without assistance, and 100% leave our program literate vs. 40%* in the general populace (*WHO 2013 report). > Produced San Martín Chiquito's FIRST college graduates (3), and we've only just begun: There are more than EIGHTY children now sponsored and in school, following in the footsteps of these determined children! Additionally: > Our health programs serve more than 10,000 people each year > Our preschool educates and feeds approximately 35 children five days a week > Our Tesoros del Corazón Fair Trade Weaving Cooperative is preserving the ancient tradition of backstrap weaving while helping to feed and cloth a dozen families > Our Leaders in Action training program is preparing 20 youth each year to take leadership roles in their communities, and the world > Our Karen Edwards Women's Empowerment Project has made it possible for several dozen women to become literate, and continues to work to free women from the chains of illiteracy > Our Micro-loan program has already funded the start-up of three successful small businesses! > Our Dignified Housing Program has made it possible to families to recover their health, and their hope > Our Volunteer Program has made it possible for more than 1,200 people to experience the joy of service to others... For more information, visit us at http://www.xelaaid.org
impoverished children and families who seek to become highly productive and self sufficient
Geographic areas served:
Current: Guatemalan Highlands
health care, preschool, work-study scholarships k-college, adult literacy, study center/tutoring, leadership training, micro-loans, support to a fair-trade weaving cooperative and more!
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Reviews for Xela Aid Partnerships For Self Reliance
I met Leslie in the early 90's and was so compelled by the work she was doing ended up going to Guatemala as a volunteer with Xela Aid. The organization was pretty small at that point, but was doing such amazing work. Building a school, building structures in San Martin Chiquito, starting a weaving co-op, medical and dental work, etc. The work continued year round in the states with a group of weavers coming to the US every year and raising money by putting on weaving workshops and cooking classes. Leslie even expanded the vision to try to help and support weavers and other indigenous artists from around the world by starting a "World Weaving" event that, for a time, was held annually at Mission San Juan Capistrano.
For me, one of the best things about Xela Aid is that they are an organization that teaches a community how to sustain themselves and grow in positive ways. They just don't go in and provide "a band aid' for the problems that exist. One of the best examples is the education sponsorship program that has educated so many children in the community. It is amazing to me that babies and children I met in San Martin Chiquito in the early 90's are now educated adults that give back to their community.
Any positive impact I may have had as a volunteer and former Board Member is far outweighed by the impact this organization and the people in Xela and San Martin have had on me and my family. My children were blessed to get to know so many beautiful strong women from San Martin as they spent time with us every year when they came to the US. They became part of my family. My children were very young during this time, but still have wonderful memories of these times. in fact, at 18 years of age my daughter saved her own money so she could go to Guatemala as a Xela Aid volunteer. She loved her experience working in San Martin and was so well taken care of by the community and especially Luis Enrique and his family. Xela Aid is a true community!
I would highly recommend becoming involved with this organization and monetarily supporting their projects as they are excellent stewards of their funds. I hope to go back to Guatemala as a volunteer in the near future.
There are many projects and organizations that compete for our attention and our money. Many are definitely worthwhile investing on, and they do a good job in their fields. However, I have never belonged to an organization whose work has positively changed so many lives, permanently, in transformational ways, and I include my own life in this change. Organizations that focus on the balance between Education, Health, Environmental Sustainability, and Work Opportunities are seldom found in the developing world. Xela AID believes that there can’t be real development in any community if one or more of these elements are missing. It is like a four-legged stool. If you want the stool to go higher and higher, you have to elevate all four legs simultaneously, or risk upsetting the balance and even fall. This is what Xela AID does, quietly, consistently, year after year, with the help of a small and dedicated staff and hundreds of volunteers. Xela AID has changed the lives of hundreds of children, many of them now productive adults, through education scholarships, giving them the opportunity to learn and aspire to a better life. Xela AID has accompanied their scholarships with holistic health programs for the children and their families, improving their lives so they can learn better and become productive citizens. Xela AID has provided, through micro-loans and other programs, opportunities for women and youth to develop their own businesses and support themselves and their families through their own efforts and creativity. And Xela AID has invested in developing strategies for environmental health in their communities, from clean water, to waste management, improvements to homes and much more. Xela AID is a model for how development aid should be. Your support for this organization will help expand and replicate this successful model to other communities in Guatemala and beyond. And your life will be changed by your involvement. Irreversibly and for the better. Whether you go on a volunteer trip once, become a long-term supporter and a donor, or become part of the leadership of the organization, your life will never be the same again. Your heart will expand in your chest and it will hurt, and you will do things you never thought you could do. And you will make friends for life, expand your horizons beyond belief; and you will become a better person too.
In the seven years we've been part of Xela AID, first as volunteers and now as part of the Board, I've been struck by the amazing changes that the various programs have on the people of these communities. The balanced approach of working on the four pillars of development, health, education, environment and work opportunities, provides the best template I've seen for true sustainability. As a model for integral community development this should be enough. However, there is also the personal, deep and emotional involvement with people that become your friends and family for life. Sponsored children given an opportunity of education and health become young adults with high dreams and unending energy; humble women become community leaders and master teachers, empowered business women and public speakers; shy young students become group leaders and movers of humanitarian projects. Xela AID saves lives, builds capacity, deals with emergencies, gathers resources and empowers people. There is so much potential, so many opportunities, and already so many accomplishments. I look forward to many more years of partnering with these communities working together for their future.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Xela AID is growing and becoming more professional. The only thing I would suggest is to continue to think big and search for larger grants that would allow the consolidation of the programs and the spread of the successful model. Efforts towards an endowment would help achieve this goal.
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My collegues and I went to Guatemala with the Xela Aid team. It was such an amazing experience, and I would definitely do it again. I plan on returning since i was so impressed with the organization. I will cherish the memories with all of the people I had the chance to meet, and will hopefully see them again in the future. It was not only a great emotional experience but it was also extremely useful for educational purposes. I would definitely recommend others to get associated with Xela Aid.
My university--California State University, Fullerton--partnered with Xela Aid to create a study abroad course that focused on community engagement. It was an incredible experience for my students and for me. Xela Aid really knows the meaning of partnership. We worked together to make a meaningful and important course of study that my students benefitted from, and that I know they will continue to benefit from for the rest of their lives. The work that Xela Aid does is important, one could say vital, to the people of San Martin. It is also vital to the rest of us in the most basic sense of the word: Xela Aid is about life and lives.
Xela AID has completely changed my life. This incredible organization does more than just give back material goods. They give their time, passion and whole heart. The volunteer trip I went on was amazing. I had the opportunity to work hands on with the people of Guatemala by helping individuals enrich their lives. I also got to really see what Xela AID is all about. They have created leaders, many learning opportunities and hope for the people in the small village of San Martin. Xela AID truly gives people the feeling that they are making a difference. Changing the world!
My husband, two daughters and I participated in the August 2015 Xela-Aid trip. The experience has forever changed our perspective of wealth, and we are deeply grateful to both the American and Guatemalan Xela staff members. The volunteer trip provided a perfect balance of cultural immersion and service work. Leslie and staff carefully blended our talents and interests with the needs of the community in San Martin Chiquito. We went to share our talents and received far more in return. Each of us has been inspired in our own ways to carry the experience forward.; and as a family, we chose to sponsor a young woman through her university days.
Xela-Aid’s model of developing self-reliance is healthy, not simply a hand out, and develops giving and receiving. It is inspiring to see the recipients of Xela-Aid paying it forward and giving back to their Guatemalan community.
I was proud to be a part of creating healthy self-reliance within an organization full of integrity. I can wholeheartedly recommend Xela-Aid to anyone yearning to make a difference.
An unexpected bonus was spending the week with other like-minded volunteers and bonding as a group. The friendships we formed are invaluable treasures. Xela-Aid is truly an experience we can’t wait to repeat.
1 person found this review helpful
I am a professor and have travelled multiple times to Central America and the Caribbean, often with students along as well. I have also done significant reading on the economics of global poverty. Many efforts fail from lack of on-the-ground communication and establishing of relationships. Often "development" or "mission" trips drop in to meet immediate "needs" as perceived from the outside with little regard to long-term impact and sustainability and can even do more harm than good (e.g. giving away clothes can be valuable or it can harm a local garment industry -- how can you know without relationship? [See "Toxic Charity" by Robert Lupton or "White Man's Burden" by William Easterly.] XelaAID, however, gets it right. They are building on over twenty years of relationship with the Mayan people of San Martin. Their focus is on long-term, sustainable, impact principally through education while thoughtfully and caringly meeting immediate needs as well. The people of San Martin clearly love Mel and Leslie and the other workers there. The children served find a bastion of safety and happiness amid lives that would otherwise be relegated to complete poverty and neglect. I am both proud and humbled to have worked with XelaAID. I trust them completely.
1 person found this review helpful
There is a reason Xela Aid recieved an award last year for their fantastic organization. This program is a well rounded, inclusive experience for both contributing members and the San Martin Chiquito village. Their continued efforts to improve the quality of life for so many people is very apparent. My time with Xela proved to be a heart warming and educational experience. I can only hope to volunteer with programs such as this shining example in the future!
Working with Xela Aid was a beautiful and life changing experience. I was unsure of what to expect in terms of the difference I would be able to make, but I saw powerful connections being made between all of the volunteers, including myself, and the people in San Martin. It is a beautiful place, but the people are what made the experience so overwhelming, in the best way.
I will be forever changed because of my time working with this nonprofit. Xela AID is an absolutely incredible organization. It is apparent how the lives of the villagers in San Martin have been touched by its efforts, and the amount of love and connection felt among the leaders, volunteers, and locals is overwhelming and humbling. Lives are positively changed every day thanks to Xela AID, and I look forward to seeing its continued and growing legacy.