I spent a month volunteering with AIR after college and it changed my life. Nine years later, I took five of my own college students to spend a week with AIR, and--thoroughly exhausted from planting 600 trees on mountainsides, building 3 stoves, and playing a ferocious game of soccer with children at an AIR school--they didn't want to leave.When I asked one of my students why, they said: "The work we're doing, the place we're in, the people we're with... it's just incredible." And it is. Families invited us into their homes, and trusted us because AIR technicians had built deep relationships with them in their indigenous languages. They proudly showed us their nurseries and told of the tens of thousands of trees they had planted. Most moving to me, they talked about what this work--AIR and local villagers, side by side--is going to mean to the world they pass on to their grandchildren: a more productive, safer, and much more verdant and beautiful world.Time and money given to AIR are well spent. I've been twice now, give regularly, and can't wait to go back!
AIR is an amazing organization that makes a difference by applying local knowledge. The organization has implemented sustainable agroforestry systems across small farms in Guatemala to increase crop yield, prevent mudslides, and assist in recovering deforested areas.
It was such a delight to volunteer with AIRE Guatemala this summer. The work they do is beyond extraordinary allowing Guatemalans to restore their land and improve their health. We planted over 1,000 trees just within two weeks and constructed six fuel efficient stoves in a community. I enjoyed meeting the AIRE team who are all very friendly, helpful, and hard-working. What really impressed me is how organized they are and how driven community partners are in starting their own "viveros" (tree nurseries) for their own community. Not only is AIRE combationg deforestation and public health issues, but also they are supporting schools, families, firefighters, and individuals who share the same concern for their environment and health. I would love and hope to continue supporting AIRE and all that they do!
This organization is extremely efficiently run with a mission that is sustainable and empowering. Planting trees for reforestation in Guatemala is the goal, but the organization accomplishes this by empowering villagers and families to create tree nurseries, develop sustainable agri-forestry, plant trees, use environmenmentally designed fuel efficient stoves, teach the curriculum in the schools, and to create microbusinesses based on their own successful ingenuity. AIR has produced and planted nearly 5 million trees! The future of our universe depends upon this kind of enhancing natural resources. AIR is part of that future!
Como centro educativo agradecemos a la Alianza Internacional de Reforestacion por las semillas que nos han dado para la reforestacion de nuestros bosques en Guatemala y tambien por el jardin botanico que es de mucha utilidad para las personas. Att. Irma Conoz . Directora del centro educativo.
Han realizado un buen trabajo ya que de ellos,he aprendido muchas cosas sobre la naturaleza, y en lo que podemos realizar, y ayudar a nuestra naturaleza.
La institución es de gran ayuda, ya que fomenta la reforestación e inculca a demás ciudadanos a cuidar del ambiente que nos rodea por ende quiero agradecer a cada uno de los que forman parte de ello
Al trabajat en AIR me ha abierto mas mis conocimientos sobre la proteccion del medio ambiente, capacitandome mas y enseñar a las comunidades la importancia sobre la proteccion del medio ambiente que dia a dia hemos hido deteriorando y con ello las consecuencias del cambio climatico que es muy notable en las comunidades mas lejanas y pobres de Guatemala.
Las consecuencias de estos cambios es la migracion de la gente hacia otros lados del pais y otros que optan por irse a otros paises muchos de forma ilegal, aunado a esto la pobreza es mas notable cada vez mas atraves de la escases de la produccion de alimentos.
Con el trabajo que estamos realizandos en AIRES, estamos contribuyendo a la mitigación del cámbio climático a través de plantaciones de arboles con las comunidades.
La instituciòn AIR nos ha ayudado en diferentes maneras tales como en la reforestaciòn de areas de las comunidades de chichicastenango , ya que hay lugares que tenemos que cuidar con la ayuda de los árbolitos que la instituciòn AIR nos brinda y sobre todo las ayudas técnicas que se brindan a la gente de chichicastenango.
Por este medio expreso mi gratitud a Dios y AIRES International por el apoyo que nos ha brindado durante diez años. A su personal aqui en Guatemala. Mediante el vivero forestal hemos formado parte como agentes de cambio en la reforestacion , de esa manera hemos logrado ayudar a nuestra comunidad. Aires ha sido en factor de desarrollo del medio ambiente en Guatemala.
AIRES ha beneficiado a algunos alumnos mediante una beca de estudio.
Es una linda institución porque enseña a como sembrar arboles para una gran ayuda a nuestro medio ambiente
Y también es una gran y segunda familia para muchos jóvenes porque ayuda a muchos estudiantes con grandes nesecidades, como a mi persona para mi AIRES es mi segunda familia me apoyó en mi estudio durante 6 años
Sin AIRES no hubiera logrado nada
Como estacion de bomberos voluntarios de san Andrés Itzapa, estamos muy agradecidos con ustedes, ya que la primera mano que nos brindo ayuda en la tragedia del volcan de fuego fueron ustedes, dotando a nuestros elementos con implementos de seguridad y conbustible para nuestras unidades. Muchas gracias por la ayuda que se nos brindo y se nos sigue brindando por parte de esta institución.
AIRES es una institución maravillosa que se dedica a reforestar arboles en Guatemala se preocupa por el medio ambiente en que vivimos,también ayuda a jóvenes de escasos recursos a que puedan sobresalir en sus estudios , gracias a AIRES yo estoy cumpliendo mi sueños de ser una profesional estoy muy feliz y agradecida por toda la ayuda.
We recently engaged in a study tour of Guatemala with a group of eleven Middle School students. Working alongside AIR in the community was the most profound part of our trip. Through AIR we learned not only about Guatemala, Mayan culture, and issues of conservation and development, but we also witnessed how to embark on a wholistic and integrated approach to activism and change. AIR has created a program that not only plants trees (and many of them), but also works to stem demand, provide education, offer alternative income streams, and understand the delicate balance of sustainability. Beyond the impressive work of the organization, however, the team itself is amazing. We were welcomed into the AIR community for our brief stay with open arms and we left feeling part of a large family. Thank you AIR!
I spent a week in June 2018 with A.I.R. in Guatemala. The work that their team does is simply amazing! At the time we visited, they had already planted more than 500,000 trees for the year! Our mission team helped plant trees, and also built four brick stoves in the homes of some very appreciative families. The A.I.R. technicians were so wonderful to work with, and helped make the week so productive for our team and for the families we were supporting. I am looking forward to going back as often as possible! A.I.R. is definitely changing lives in Guatemala!
This organization goes deep into the communities of Guatemala and serves the people.
Not by just providing aid, but by educating and installing the tools necessary for the people to succeed independently.
The added benefit of this is actual sustainable farming and economies, something the country of Guatemala desperately needs.
My wife and I are incredibly impressed by how resourceful AIR has been, and continues to be. We look forward to the amount of restoration they'll be able to accomplish after the devastating volcano eruption 2 months ago.
Traveling to Guatemala with AIR and seeing first hand how communities build new hope, from the ground up, changed my perspective on what nonprofits can actually do. AIR is not charity, it is community built on hard work and love.
As a first-timer on a June 2018 veteran mission team with AIR, AIRES in Guatemala, I saw firsthand why this exceptional nonprofit was selected from over 800 nominations worldwide to receive a 2017 Equator Prize from the United Nations Development Programme for innovative indigenous solutions tackling poverty and environmental challenges. Their 25-year proven track record of ever-expanding successes is impressive. Helping local Mayan community partners start up over 300 tree nurseries and consulting with them over the next 5 years to sustain them are commendable commitments. Seeing some of those nurseries become thriving businesses is especially rewarding. The 800 trees our mission group planted over two days was hard work but pales in comparison to the over 5.2 million seedlings planted to date to reforest eroded mountainsides, preventing mudslides and improving the soil for life-giving farming. And as we drove through the countryside, mature “AIR forests” were pointed out to us repeatedly with great pride and personal satisfaction. The nearly 900 fuel-efficient vented brick stoves constructed by AIRES teams are highly valued. They are an economical and healthier alternative for families who have been cooking over an open fire on the mud floor of a smoke-filled shed. Our team built four stoves in two days. One family shed tears of joy when receiving this special gift which they helped construct. We also judged the student-constructed projects of an environmental education competition at one of the 300 AIRES-inspired middle schools. Plastic bottles and used tires, often pulled from the river by students, were transformed into colorful tables, seats, and shelters in the schoolyard. Such programs hold great promise for improved conservation and recycling efforts of the younger generations. Fuego’s nearby devastating volcanic eruption in June added a disaster-relief dimension to the mission of AIRES which continues to be performed admirably. From replacing the burned-up boots of volunteer first-responder firefighters to providing food and restorative tree nursery supplies to communities that lost almost everything under the hot ash from Fuego, AIRES displays yet again, love in action. Dr. Anne Hallum’s love and passion for AIR-Guatemala, as its unpaid Founding President, is unbounded and contagious. Her administrative and technician team headquartered in Chimaltenango is outstanding and works tirelessly. They are like family to each other and exhibit a deep spiritual calling to compassionate service for the benefit of impoverished Mayan communities and a deforested environment. As visitors, we were warmly welcomed, well cared for, and kept secure. Few charities accomplish as many good and sustainable works as this one on such a modest budget. Without question, AIR-Guatemala is deserving of our continuing support and investment!
Why AIR excels:
Guatemalans are both the givers and recipients of care; they are the leaders. This is NOT one of those agencies where North Americans make assumptions about need and/or pretend to know a better way of doing things.
They serve those who agree to be a part of the solution; we work side by side while building lasting and meaningful relationships. The recipients become educated and empowered.
It is a sustainable effort with partnerships that last a minimum of five years.
They get the job done. We were there mid-June and over 500,000 trees had already been planted since the beginning of the year.
And best yet: You will only help to make better what is already an incredibly beautiful country (volcanoes included!) that is filled with wonderful and kind people.
AIR is fully deserving of your time and resources but for those who are able, there is no better way to see and understand it than being there in person!
Another trip to Guatemala is over.
We arrived a week after Fuego erupted and there was still a great deal of pain for the people and damage to the country. But the people are resilient and there was a significant out pouring of gifts to help them recover. Fuego is still active, so each day brings new challenges. Anne Hallum, founder of A.I.R., discovered that one of the local volunteer fire departments were without boots. The ash was so hot from Fuego that their boots had melted the first day. Anne was able to use some of the donations to purchase boots for the firemen to continue the search and rescue missions. What a blessing from so many people. No matter the size of the gift, it will always be put to good use.
During the week we were in Guatemala, our team planted about 900 trees and built 4 stoves for families. I have long contended that there is no flat land in Guatemala but 1 day we did plant on level ground. Be careful of what you wish for because that was much tougher planting than on a hillside. Also, we were only 4 miles from Fuego and could see it continue belching ash. We all started out with masks to mitigate breathing in the ash. Some of us lasted longer than others. Maybe that is where I got a sinus infection that turned into a good “old fashioned cold” after I returned home.
The stove building is as rewarding as planting trees but in a different way. The interaction with the family members is so wonderful. I was in charge of “bubbling” the bricks for one of the stoves. “Bubbling” the bricks is soaking them in a tub filled with water until no more bubbles appear. Removing them from the tubs and stacking the near to the stove that is under construction. Does it sound easy to you? It is not. There is a lot of toting, lifting, bending, and refilling the water. So I look up and there is a precious 4 year old holding a brick for me. Behind her was her sister, about 6 or 7, holding a brick and behind her was their Mother holding two bricks. My eyes started leaking, must have been from the dust. They wanted to help in any way they could. The family we worked with had built an addition for the stove. The first thing to do is measure the woman that will be doing most of the cooking so the stove will be appropriate for her height.
Remember what I said about not having any flat land in Guatemala? All of the supplies had to be hauled up the path to where the family lives. This includes concrete blocks, fire bricks, sand, concrete, tin, lumber, stove pipes, many tools, and various other stuff. I am so thankful for the people that did this before we got there.
The lunch the women prepared for us that day (and every day) was wonderful and nutritious. I am not sure what it is, but the vegetables are so delicious. They have the biggest carrots I have ever experienced. And they are so sweet. The same with the potatoes and squash.
The first picture is in the A.I.R. office with the whole crew. The techno’s are the heart of this mission. They are in the communities daily helping, encouraging, and teaching. The second picture is the stove that I worked on. I know it will be a blessing for a long time. I know it blessed me just working on it.
Thanks for taking the time to read this missive. If you can’t go, give.
Love to all, Jo