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28 Reviews
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January 26, 2014

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January 26, 2014

I discovered LHI when I was looking for places to volunteer in Central and South America, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to spend 6-1/2 weeks with them in November and December of 2013. LHI is comprised of local (Chajul and Nebaj) and US staff, and they are a deeply committed, smart, hard-working, passionate, close-knit, generous and funny team of people. During my time with LHI, I got to experience first-hand how thoughtful they are about the development of their program and the realization of their organization's goals. They make excellent use of their resources. Their support is critical for the scholarship recipients who, without LHI's support, would be e.g., working in the fields or washing laundry for a living instead of attending school. (I know this because i had the opportunity to interview most of the 50+ scholarship recipients.) The families of scholarship recipients are likewise supported in a variety of ways, so LHI's impact ripples far out into the community. The library that is run by LHI is a buzzing hub of happiness for the children of Chajul, who show up excited to read, draw, go on library-sponsored local outings, do handcraft activities, etc. LHI is doing important, culturally respectful, meaningful work to help Chajul lift itself out of poverty, under-education, and limited opportunities. I recommend it as an organization to support, and as a place to volunteer.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

LHI staff asked me for constructive feedback, which is another indication of their soundness as an organization. 1. It would be great to have a formal way for graduates of LHI to give back to the LHI community (e.g., mentoring and/or giving workshops to younger students). 2. As a means to increase personal responsibility within the community, children using the library should be expected to help clean up before leaving. (This had already started to shift during the time I was volunteering.)

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 2, 2013

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October 2, 2013

I have been a donor for 3 years now. I started supporting the organization when I found out from a friend about how great the need is in the community they support as well as how passionately, diligently, and mindfully their staff team works. I know that donating to LHI means that my money is going directly to educating and raising youth leaders that will lift their community up by its bootstraps.

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Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

August 26, 2013

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August 26, 2013

We have been donating to LHI for years. In fact, donating to LHI was our wedding registry in lieu of gifts to us. We have been very impressed with LHI's steadily increasing impact for a deserving community, as well as its efficient use of capital. The staff are brilliant, passionate and hardworking.

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Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

August 22, 2013

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August 22, 2013

I've been developing a relationship with Chajul, and the smaller school of CEMIK, for 10 years. I teach Spanish in Portland, Oregon and my students have corresponded with Chajulenses for years. Four years ago, we mounted a global trip with high school students and found Limitless Horizons during the research phases. We were seeking an organization that worked in a culturally-sensitive and respectful manner with the community, one comprised of members of the community and extranjeros. LHI proved to be a model NGO in this regard. After two student trips, my community is blown-away by the thoughtful and sustainable community development being carried out between LHI and the community of Chajul. As Director of Global Education at Catlin Gabel School, I can't be more emphatic in my praise for what, and how, LHI does for the genesis of the Ixil community of Chajul and neighboring aldeas. Sincerely, Spencer White

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 7, 2011

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October 7, 2011

I had the opportunity to visit with Limitless Horizons for about a week in Chajul while I was on vacation in Guatemala, and I was absolutely blown away by the work that they do and the amount of positive impact they have on the community there. Our group visited with several local families in their homes while we were there -- either to have lunch with them or, on one occasion, to learn the art of weaving -- and while these were amazing experiences for me personally, I also gained a firsthand look at the impoverished living conditions of the Ixil people and the great work that LHI does to help improve them. It was striking to see that the families live without even the most basic necessities for a healthy lifestyle, such as clean running water. But I remember particularly that most families cook their food over open fires on the floors of their homes, and the resulting smoke is an enormous health hazard to them. It turns out that most families are not even aware of this issue, since using an open fire is how things have always been done in Chajul. So LHI has a great program to combat this issue: not only do they teach and provide information to the community about these health hazards, but they also provide access to healthy and low-cost stove systems. They will even arrange for the installation! This program, along with many others like it, have huge positive impacts on the living conditions and lifestyles of the Chajulense people, and I was able to see how much these families really enjoyed and appreciated having LHI's help and support.

But I was most blown away by LHI's huge contribution in education and youth development. LHI provides scholarships for the local youth to attend school as well as providing mentoring and tutoring programs. LHI has created itself a classroom, a library, and a small computer room attached to its office, so while I was volunteering there I saw many children come and go, doing their homework, having lessons, etc. It was obvious to me that LHI has created enormous learning opportunities -- and ultimately career opportunities -- for these children where there were none before, which will have a huge impact on their lives, and the children were absolutely thrilled to be taking part in it. Chajul's first public library, founded by LHI, has quickly become a bustling community center of sorts for the youth, and LHI even organizes regular field days for the kids. (They kicked my butt in soccer.) Overall, LHI has lit an extraordinarily bright light in the lives of these children which will have lasting and far-reaching positive effects not only for the children but for the entire community. Lastly I want to mention how devoted and caring the LHI staff was. It was heartwarming to see just how much of themselves they pour into the Chajul community. They touch the lives of these families and develop close personal relationships with them, and the true reward for them is that they are able to see the positive differences that they make. They are truly motivated by a passion to help better the lives of those who are less fortunate. Please endorse Limitless Horizons Ixil and help them continue to bring positive change for Chajul and the Ixil region.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the village of Chajul, where I met and visited the families and children whose lives are touched by this wonderful organization.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

want them to be able to provide scholarships and mentoring for more youth than they are currently able to.

October 6, 2011

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October 6, 2011

Limitless Horizons Ixil is a wonderful organization that provided me with the opportunity to make a difference in the community of Chajul, Guatemala. The organization's staff and volunteers care deeply about youth and families they serve. I was particularly impressed by the depth of involvement of LHI in ensuring each student's academic success. Rather than simply giving out scholarships, LHI, recognizing the obstacles that the recipients face, offers intensive Spanish classes, computer training, and community-building activities. LHI's public library, where I volunteered during my time in Guatemala, is a particularly wonderful resource for the community. I saw firsthand how much the children and adults enjoy the wealth of resources available for them in the library. As a teacher, I know how important access to books is in a child's development of literacy, and LHI's expanding public library is helping children in the Ixil region gain literacy skills every day.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

their impact on children's literacy and learning.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change anything.

More feedback...

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

September 30, 2011

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September 30, 2011

I worked with LHI over two summers, working on their fuel efficient cook stove program while I conducted research for my PhD dissertation. They were not only gracious hosts, but integral members of the community. Every person in the Ixil community that interacts with LHI is impacted in a positive way, and they focus on community members who are in the most need of help. They are limited in the number of people they can help, but they use their money wisely and give donors "more bang for their buck" than any organization I have work with.

LHI's Program Director, Veronica Yat Tiu, and their Executive Director, Katie Morrow work well together and are constantly improving their programs. As a native of Chajul, Veronica is one of LHI's most priceless assets in the community. She is a strong leader in the community, and her work as a professional is a shining example for the many children in Chajul who struggle to afford the costs associated with going to school and just with living. Katie, as a co-founder of LHI, is just as integral, and she started LHI to give scholarships to children who showed promise in school but did not continue past the 8th grade because their families could not afford the costs of tuition.

In the three years since I have been working with LHI, they have established a very strong board, have improved their programs, built a community library, and refined the process for training staff. If they have one weakness, it is the high turnover of staff. This is one of the pitfalls of working in a remote area; it is hard to recruit quality staff for a long commitment, and while the staff members have consistently been stellar, they often only work with LHI for around 18 months. Almost a third of their time is spent being trained or training their replacement. LHI has solved this problem by hiring more local staff, which has had a very positive impact on the community, creating jobs and setting an example of professional service work.

LHI's Work to (L)earn program, or Ganar y Ganar, is a great example of how they work in partnership with the citizens they help serve. Families that receive scholarships have the opportunity to work in several capacities with LHI to create revenue that supports the families and supports LHI's operating costs. Mother's might weave scarves or create other crafts that are sold at fundraisers, generating profits for LHI and the artisan. Father's might be paid by LHI for work labor that supports the community, and students often work in the community on LHI's payroll, supporting programs such as the library and after school tutoring.

One of LHI's greatest strengths is their ability to work with diverse groups that travel to Chajul to volunteer or conduct research. In addition to conducting my research, I worked with LHI to hold workshops for teachers and teach students skills to become Spanish / Ixil interpreters. LHI also works with visiting volunteers (from Universities and other organizations) to complete service projects that improve the quality of life of Chajul's citizens. Volunteers work in partnership with LHI and have the opportunity to contribute to areas in which they have an interest.

I cannot stress enough how every penny used by LHI improves the lives of community members, and how community members don't simply receive money, but work in partnership with LHI to improve their community through hard work and well designed programs.
September 30, 2011

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September 30, 2011

I began working with Katie and Pedro in 2008. I could see that they were strong leaders- eager learners, dedicated humanitarians, good thinkers, smart spenders. They kept the long-term self-sufficiency of Chajul families at the center of their work. They weren’t in the NGO business to put their stamp on a place and leave. They weren’t about charity—taking funds from the first world and turning it into ‘handouts for the poor.’ No, LHI was, and still is, a vehicle for opportunity for Chajul children and families to make changes in their own lives and in their communities.

When I last visited Chajul, there were visible signs of progress: LHI had become a community center, where youth and families went to hang out, access educational materials, ask for help, and volunteer. LHI’s local program director had built the confidence to lead a group of women in a voice activity organized by Mothers Acting Up. Cecilia Jacinta, the young woman my mother sponsors, had grown from a near-silent 7th grade student to a confident, smart, funny, hopeful 9th grader eager to show me her 2-room adobe home, introduce me to her family, feed me her delicious boxbol, and act in LHI’s first play—a social commentary of life with an open cooking fire contrasted with life with a safe stove.

There were signs of attitudinal changes; LHI’s work helped people value other vegetables besides corn, which will contribute to the battle against malnutrition. LHI helped parents to see the value in sending their children to school in a community when most children stop schooling after primary school. There was a sense of community and trust among LHI’s growing population of scholarship students and families that came from different religious and political viewpoints.

Today, LHI is reaching more of the community than ever, with its new expanded library, full of eager students every day, who are trying to position themselves to do well in school and launch sustainable careers.

In the last six years, LHI has:
1. Supported six girls from 7th through their 12th grade graduation in a community where only 1% graduate from high school. These girls are proud to graduate this October; they would not have attended and succeeded in these upper grades without LHI’s financial, emotional, and academic support.
2. Increased the number of students served each year from 10 students in 2005 to 85 students in 2011 through our scholarship program alone, increasing the number of students graduating from middle school each year.
3. Brought new services and programs to town: intensive Spanish classes, student work-study opportunities, tutoring, family gardens, safe stoves, Story Hour, teacher workshops, career panels, and many more.
4. Opened Chajul’s first public library, expanded it due to high demand, and registered over 600 users.
5. Created local employment for four full-time local employees, two part-time employees, and work-study opportunities for youth.
6. Reduced the number of dropouts due to marriage and childbirth within our scholarship program to ZERO.

LHI has accomplished all this efficiently (with an annual budget less than the average lawyer’s annual salary) and sustainably (community members have both leadership and skin in the game) in the rural, indigenous community of Chajul, Guatemala.

LHI is different from most international aid organizations, as it is embedded in and driven by the community itself. It has been an honor to serve as a board member of LHI. I have learned so much from Katie and Pedro, and feel that every hour and dollar I spend in support of LHI translates to important, life-changing work.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

September 30, 2011

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September 30, 2011

I have been working in Chajul alongside Limitless Horizons Ixil as the Community Advocate for Philanthropiece for the past year and am continually impressed by the leadership, activism, and, most importantly, compassion that this organization brings to all of the projects and programs that they have thus far initiated in the community. For the last several years, LHI has been able to garner the trust of the community and, in turn, provide a wide range of needed services to a very under-served population. Both the local and international staff are a pleasure to work with and, even though my time in Chajul is almost up, I am really looking forward to keeping in contact and seeing the LHI scholarship students, and LHI itself, continue to grow and succeed in the future!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

so many ways! I've been working in Chajul for a year and have been involved in a lot of the projects that LHI has started - sustainable agriculture, introducing safe cookstoves to the community, helping out with Chajul's first and only public library, assisting with the amazing scholarship program, handling the artisan program with local women weavers, and looking for new opportunities for Philanthropiece to work alongside LHI in community identified initiatives.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

What is unique about this organization?

This organization works in an area of Guatemala that is very underserved within a very unique, beautiful culture. It grassroots in the truest sense of the word, working within the community and making sure that community identified needs are met and voices are heard.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

September 30, 2011

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September 30, 2011

I have been volunteering with Limitless Horizons Ixil (LHI) for almost 2 months. I was interested in this organization because of the work they do, connecting indigenous Mayan youth with educational opportunities. I have had a great experience so far. Everyone on the team (local and international staff) has been welcoming, and supportive of my goals in studying Spanish in addition to wanting to contribute to the organization. Volunteering in this role has been really interesting, I have gotten to participate in a wide range of tasks; from painting at the library with the students to translating to photographing crafts. Its been a good balance of my skills and their needs.
Overall, the thing that has impressed me most is the dedication of the staff to see these students, and in turn this community, succeed. Currently serving approximately 85 students, LHI seems on the brink of expansion in the future. Easily a worthwhile organization to connect
with and donate to; I can see firsthand how the money is well spent. Education is changing lives.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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