The Highland Support Project is one of few non-profit networks that doesn't focus on development from a Western perspective. Their methodology is one of "transformational development", meaning that communities lift themselves out of poverty by participating in their programming, and do so sustainably. I really think that HSP is doing that that almost no other organizations working in Guatemala are doing. Their methods may not be as flashy, but they help people from the ground up. Highly recommend participating in one of their amazing trips!
What makes HSP is different is that they don't implement band-aid solutions. Their mission and work focuses on the long-term solutions and more importantly, solutions that are sustainable. I know I've personally always felt like the charity/volunteer work I've done in other areas (donations, hosting fundraisers, volunteering at events, etc.) have not been enough. I think that they do help, but I know I could contribute even more to the causes I care about.
I admire and advocate for HSP because it is an organization that puts the people they serve at the heart of their projects. I've volunteered with them for about 7 months and I can see that they are committed to working with the Mayans for the long-run. Everyone here is outwardly passionate and driven in what they do and love the people that they work with and I'm happy to be a part of the work that they do!
I truly enjoyed my trip to Guatemala. I feel as if we have left an impact of who we are and what we stand for with the Myan Woman. The fact that they know others will struggle for their lively hood helps them know they are not alone. I felt like the support helped them more then the physical labor.
I worked with HSP to build stoves for the indigenous people. I had a great exposure to diversity and I was amazed to see how women are now taking initiatives to be educated despite having socio-economical barriers. They knew the ventilated stoves could change the future of their kids. The families were very welcoming and we all had a great experience in the highlands of Guatemala. Other students should take this opportunity to explore different cultures, which can open a new window for them.
As a volunteer for the Highland Project, I worked to build stoves for the women and families living in the highlands of Guatemala where I was immersed into the community and families of those we were building stoves for. The conditions in which the families lived greatly humbled me; I was most shocked that clean water and indoor plumbing was not a standard for the households in the Highlands. Yet, I was more surprised by the families positivity, hospitality and giving nature! I never felt as though I could convey my gratitude towards the women and families that our group worked for. I highly recommend working with the Highland Support Project to further forward their mission to create self-perpetuating social entrepreneurship by empowering individuals through teamwork to transform adversity into opportunity.
I had a great time in December 2013 traveling to Guatemala with Highland Support Project! I wish I had been able to spend more time building the stoves--one week was NOT long enough for everything I wanted to do! My group was relatively small, but we had a really good time. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I appreciated the whole experience a lot.
Volunteering with the Highland Support Project during Spring Break of 2014 was probably one of the most useful ways to spend my time. I embarked on the journey without a clue of what to expect but I was going alongside some of my friends that had gone before and they assured me that it would be an amazing experience. Working alongside the women of the highlands and interacting with their children and families opened the windows of a new world to me. They welcomed us into their families and communicated with us as their own--they helped us as we helped them. I saw that these women are climbing mountains just to complete their daily chores while I complete daily tasks in complete leisure. In addition to the service activities, I greatly enjoyed exploring Guatemala on my own which allowed me to immerse myself into the culture. This program works to educate and entertain the students as well as provide a great service opportunity in the rural area of Guatemala. This trip taught me to become human and I look forward to making another trip to this region again, all thanks to the Highland Support Project.
HSP is a wonderful organization that empowers indigenous people of Guatemala and truly makes a difference. I signed up for a trip over spring break that truly changed my outlook on the world. I was surprised to see so many happy faces in a country I assumed to be overrun by poverty. While HSP allowed me to do all the touristy type things my heart could desire they also showed me what it meant to show love and kindness to others in ways I didn't have the opportunity to do so before.
I have had the privilege of participating in several service trips with the Highland Support Project. This includes one trip to an Indian reservation in Arizona where my group helped to build a foundation for a community garden. I also took part in three trips to the highlands of Guatemala where I was able to participate in health screenings and education sessions with the women and children, as well as help build stoves for several families. By working with the families and building these stoves we not only made an impact in preventing burns, fires, and smoke inhalation injury, but we provided the women with more free time to help provide for their families in communities in ways other than keeping a fire. Each trip was an unforgettable experience, and working with HSP staff both in the states and in Guatemala has given me hope that there are still people trying to make real, sustainable change happen. I cannot wait for my next opportunity to work with this organization again.
I have had the pleasure of going to Guatemala twice with the Highland Support Project and this summer I intend on working with them in Arizona as well. Their model of sustainability and working closely with communities is amazing. I felt as if all the interventions we did while in Guatemala made a lasting impact in the communities and helped to lay a foundation for health promotion in the rural communities. I hope to continue our partnership with HSP!
As a graduate student in Guatemala, I had an inclination we would be treated more as “volun-tourists” than as people who wanted to learn about the culture of the country. To my surprise, we were immersed in the rural culture from the beginning of our trip. The families with whom we interacted made an effort to show us how their community truly functioned. The projects we completed were designed to benefit the community, but also teach us about the history, economy, and social structure of the region. The Highland Support Project clearly took the time and effort to create a multi-faceted program that educates participants while also completing their mission goal of helping the communities of rural Guatemala. I seriously have to tip my hat to them and I am already making plans to visit the region again.