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!
I love all that is being done to enrich the lives of Guatemala to improve the environment, educate, prepare stoves so better food can nourish them and be beneficial for all. Lives in the area have been changed because people have accepted the invitation to donate to AIR,
I am always amazed to know how much is accomplished with money given.
M.Darsey Huntsville, AL
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!
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
I've spent five weeks with AIR and I keep coming back. I am simply in awe of the ways they empower local, impoverished communities in the mountains of Guatemala, bringing world-class agroforestry skills to them instead of the other way around. It's a patient, long-game sort of program that has utterly transformed the landscape of Chimaltenango and Sololá states.
I'm also in awe of the huge impact they have with such a comparatively small staff. I feel like I see every dollar I give up on those mountainsides, whether in trees, water cisterns, or programs for local schoolchildren. Did I mention that Dr. Hallum, AIR's founder, is a CNN Hero? And that AIR is Guatemalan-run?
I'll be back until I can't climb up mountains or swing a hoe, and will offer support beyond that time. If you want to see poor farmers' lives improved and mudslide-damaged slopes reforested in rural Guatemala, you should too!
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!
I can't say enough good things about AIR. I find it remarkable the amount of change that can be brought about by a small organization. The clear mission and passionate leadership shown by the staff of AIR and by its founder Anne Hallum are surely a fine example to all organizations seeking to empower an impoverished population.
Air Guatemala knocks it out of the park yet again. What an amazing organization AIR is!!! The hard work and dedication of the staff in Guatemala are remarkable.
I am an environmental scientist and participated as a volunteer on a week-long project in Guatemala with this organization earlier this year (2017). This is hands down the most effective nonprofit I've seen. They have a program that supports so many interrelated needs - environmental preservation, sustainable agriculture, indoor air quality, rural poverty, women's rights, indigenous rights, education. They have a model that works - it is almost entirely bottom up. Local communities request the help; local technicians that are from the region and speak the local dialect provide the training, support, and guidance; the community performs most of the work themselves and AIR's support to them is long-term. This organization gets my highest recommendation as one worth supporting.
Alliance for International Reforestation is a truly remarkable nonprofit organization. It not only cares about the environment but most importantly the people who live in it.
AIR allowed me to launch my own non profit organization by giving me the opportunity to partner up with them on my first project, in which I will forever be grateful for their endless support. By achieving a sense of connection between nature and humanity throughout morally encompassed endeavors, AIR candidly exceeds every expectation that a hardworking non-profit organization should strive to be.
Seeds for Knowledge
AIR Guatemala remains one of the most impressive, committed, hopeful groups i have met in Central America.
Their ability to address food security, bio-diversity, watershed protection, carbon sinks / reforestation all with the planting of diverse flora amazes and inspires me.
Investing in their cause is an investment in a hope-filled future.
Rev. Alan Jenkins
Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
It's been a joy and an honor to serve as a volunteer with this wonderful organization.
They say "a picture is worth a thousand words", and these pictures are proof. They are all trees planted by AIR, and they are 4, 8, and 12 years old. It demonstrates how barren mountainsides, prone to mudslides during the rainy season, can be restored to lush, beautiful forests. AIR technicos work with Mayan farmers for 5 years teaching the principles behind reforestation, and enlisting them as partners in improving life for themselves and their community. Some farmers have started their own tree nurseries which becomes a small business for them as they sell seedlings to their neighbors. Another aspect of AIR is stove building. The cook stoves are wood burning as is the Mayan tradition. The AIR designed stove uses far less wood than their traditional way of cooking, and they are vented to prevent inhalation of smoke, thus improving health. The lady of the house is consulted about the height and location of the stove, and later it will be a gathering place for the family.
AIR has a curriculum in many schools that teaches agro forestry and sustainable farming. They offer scholarships to students to ensure that the principles can be carried on into the future.
I have been privileged to volunteer on three AIR mission trips, and will continue to support this wonderful organization.
I recently returned from my first volunteer trip with AIR and it was an incredible experience. The organization goes above and beyond to ensure you get to engage in meaningful hands on work that has a direct and long-lasting impact on the wonderful people of Guatemala as well as our planet Earth. The reforestation process is highly rewarding and each volunteer member benefits from the opportunity to become truly immersed in the Guatemalan culture. It is an absolutely beautiful thing. By working in tandem with numerous indigenous families you will develop a special connection and appreciation for their way of life and the surrounding environment. The week was structured in a very organized and professional manner that kept you equally motivated and inspired. The genuine kindness among the staff members was contagious and thoroughly uplifting. I look forward to the next trip! Gracias para todo! Hasta la proxima!
As a mission pastor, I have had opportunity to engage in many global mission experiences and I rate the engagement with AIR as one of the healthiest initiatives promoting long-term sustainability. Sharing a vision, a meal, and a time for planting with local community leaders focuses the involvement on an intimate level - something that is very challenging to do in global contexts. The opportunity to come alongside of people who care for creation on many levels has long lasting effects. I was grateful to see not only the development of more stable mountain sides, but also the development of more stable communities!
This is my third trip with AIR. This organization has really opened my eyes to the ability of a group of people committed to making a difference in Guatemala. Planting trees, building fuel efficient stoves, education in the schools, giving families a means of adding to their income and improving the lives of their children and future generations are some of their accomplishments.
As a volunteer I was able to share in this work as well as meet the families that form the co-ops. The time spent working with the families was a priceless experience, helping to create understanding and connections between very different worlds. Coming back years later and seeing how this organization has changed so many lives and seeing the trees growing tall is a thrill that keeps bringing me back.
What a fantastic organization. They have made such a difference to the people and county of Guatemala. Having planted millions of trees, built hundreds of stoves, educated so many children with classes, hands on conservation and many publications; they are turning around the reforestation and deadly mudslides that are so prevalent in this country. Volunteers are able to make a real difference in helping with tree planting and stove building while getting to know the families that are involved in the co-ops that grow the trees.
I expected to plant trees with AIR. What I didn't expect was for planting trees to be a link between the natural world and human experience. AIR is a program that is firstly about the families and communities enrolled; it is run, sustained, and expanded by these participants. For those lucky enough to be allowed into this well oiled program, even for a short time, you will learn something that will humble you and open you up to the beauty of the earth and the role of people in it. Thank you AIR!
Ha sido de mucha ayuda para mí ya que me apoya en mis estudios a través de una beca para que pueda seguir luchando en mi carrera, sé que es algo complicada pero con la ayuda de Dios y de la Asociación puedo seguir adelante. Que Dios los bendiga a todos y cada uno de los que hacen posible que muchos jóvenes como yo pueda seguir estudiando y luchar en la vida, así poco a poco poder graduarme. Y así como me apoyan a mi espero también poder ayudar a alguien más que tanto como yo lo necesitan, aparte me han ensañado muchos valores como el de la perseverancia, el respeto y a cuidar el medio ambiente, entre otros valores que me ayudan para lograr ser una persona íntegra. ¡Gracias por el apoyo!
I've been volunteering with AIR for almost a year doing social media and raising funds and what a reward it was to go to Guatemala this summer and actually see where all the hard work was going-IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I'm so proud of Anne and all her staff for being so organized, timely and most importantly PASSIONATE. There was nothing more majestic than sitting on a beautiful hillside planting trees, knowing that I was making a difference in the world. Selfishly, I think the trip meant more to me than what I did for the people of Guatemala. I walked away more restored and alive than I've felt in so many years.
For about 6 years now I've greatly admired AIR from afar. When I started volunteering as the marketing/ fundraising manager it did not disappoint. Anne Hallum's belief and passion in the work that AIR does in Guatemala is contagious. Her dedication to the people is incredible. Like any non-profit it takes a lot of perseverance to stay positive and strong to continue to raise funds. Not once have I seen her waver- always believing that their needs (Guatemalans) are so much greater. I think that AIR does a very good job in being transparent in what they do and where the donations go. 94% of the funds truly go to the field-I can honestly say that AIR's overhead budget is nonexistent. Every dollar is so carefully spent, making sure that it stretches a long way and for the most dire need/ situation. I've always believed people should be helped before the environment. However, AIR showed me that by planting trees, teaching sustainable farming and building stoves -we are helping the people directly. When you take care of the environment you directly have an impact on everything else. It doesn't have to be people or environment. I love that.
I recently accompanied a group to Guatemala where we worked with AIR Guatemala in planting trees and building stoves. I cannot believe how organized our schedule was and yet there was flexibility to adjust to unforeseen situations.
The highlight was seeing the eyes of the woman for whom we built a stove. Her tears brought tears to my eyes; she was so happy, proud, and appreciative. But the focus of our mission trip was to plant trees, and I relished doing this as a contribution to the environment of Guatemala and the world. We visited a tree nursery and saw how people were growing the trees we were planting. We saw the beautiful countryside as we drove into the mountains to plant trees, We hiked to the locations are proceeded to plant trees that would increase forest cover and provide a better environment.
Meanwhile, in the evenings, I was able to reflect on what I was accomplishing, and think about what it meant to my life. What a wonderful experience.
This year was the second trip with AIR that our church group had taken. As with the first trip everything had been arranged for our stay and our work. The staff of AIR in Guatemala is tops. They work with the locals and we volunteers to make the trip worthwhile. Their plan of 5 years working with villages makes it certain we do more than plant and run. We found that attitudes of locals has changed from trees being a problem to being an asset. In fact some have even set up businesses to sell trees to others. We were able to see some of the trees we had planted on our previous trip and it really gave meaning to our current work. The stoves we built for the families were received happily and we enjoyed their smiles and the knowledge that we had helped improve their health. On this trip we also visited a school and found that AIR is making an impact on education by teaching about the benefits of trees on the environment and health. AIR's influence has touched the lives of many in Gutemala and in the US.
I have been on volunteer trip with AIR three times and am always impressed by Anne and her staff. Their enthusiasm for the work they do is contagious. They help the environment by planting trees to prevent erosion, start tree nurseries so communities feel a connection to the environment, they build stoves that are more fuel efficient and help families have less lung problems, and promote environmental education at community schools. AIR takes care of the whole communities throughout Guatemala. Not only is AIR doing great work, it has been doing it for an impressive 20 years!
I have volunteered with AIR four times over the past several years. AIR does amazing work that benefits the communities directly in both short and long term. AIR has strong relationships with over 100 communities in Guatemala. The organization is extremely well run.
This was my second trip with AIR to Guatemala and it is an amazing organization. It's more than just planting trees and building stoves. AIR takes a holistic approach to conservation. Their technicians work with farmers to develop a sustainable blueprint for maximizing their crops and conserving soil. The wood stoves cut firewood use in half, while creating a healthier indoor environment for families free from smoke and fumes. Their school curriculum teaches the next generation about the importance of trees and the environment. I wholeheartedly recommend volunteering with AIR to help others create a better life for themselves and their families.
It was a fun, productive, and heart-warming volunteer trip with AIR Guatemala. I was amazed by the beauty of the country, the culture, and the people we met. It's so hard to totally explain the depth and success of this non-profit. The founder, Anne, is very humble and passionate about her work, and involved the entire time we were there. Thanks to Anne, her staff and all the experienced volunteers that welcomed me on my first trip!
I have participated with the AIR non-profit planting trees and building stoves in Guatemala for the past three years and have SEEN the results. Being an educator myself, I am impressed with AIR's education component, because as we know our youth are our future. The Mayan families I have worked with have moved me with their humble gratitude for our efforts. I feel privileged to have planted trees under whose shade I will never sit. Go sustainable living!
Sincerely, Jan Somers
I am retired and spend most of my time working with nonprofits. I have never worked with an organization where people get more bang for their buck. Super people doing really super things.
I was amazed by the innovative way this organization works with the community to achieve positive changes for everyone involved rather than trying to force change in condesending ways. They are mazing and inspired my career change.
I actually went up with AIR to Guatemala for an internship. I spent 5 weeks talking with the local population, learning about life outside the U.S., and learning about agroforestry. I would not trade that experience for anything in the world.
I recently joined AIR on one of their trips to Guatemala to plant trees, build stoves, and work with some of the local school children planting a vegetable garden. It was clear from day-one that Anne has a deep love and understanding of the local area and culture, and is working to promote sustainable preservation of the area. This organization truly supports the communities they work in, providing educational support to ensure the people understand the benefits of reforestation, and will continue using the land in a sustainable manner after the AIR support staff have left. I was thoroughly impressed by the respect they are shown throughout the community, and the good works they do both locally and internationally. I am continually impressed by the AIR family, and am thrilled to be able to work with them again in the future.
My trip to Guatemala with the AIR team this past summer was the first mission trip I have ever been on. For years, I had wanted to participate in a mission trip, but had not found a match for my interests and my "comfort zone." AIR intrigued me. It was compatible with my background (horticulture and environmental biology); involved hands-on activities of which I was very familiar (planting trees and building stoves); and gave me the opportunity to practice Spanish! Perfect. I signed up to travel with a team of 8 -- 6 of whom had previously served on earlier Air mission trips to Guatemala. That spoke volumes to me.
AIR did not disappoint. The more I learned about AIR's objectives, and the successes of the past 20+ years of service to the Guatemalan people, the more impressed I became. It was an honor and a privilege to work alongside the property owners to plant trees to secure the soil on their plots of farmland; and to lay blocks and bricks to build an efficient stove in their kitchen -- both of which, in the long run, would benefit not just those families, but the entire community.
I was awed by the passion and dedication of AIR's founder, Anne Hallum, and of AIR'S technicians whose job is to reach out to the rural communities to teach and assist them in the education, development and execution of reforestation of their country. AIR truly is a life-changing entity -- not just for the Guatemalan people that AIR assists, but also for the volunteers who are introduced to the beauty and vibrancy that is Guatemala.
AIRES es una institución que se dedica a la reforestación de árboles en nuestro país he tenido el privilegio de estar trabajando en el vivero me siento feliz de contribuir a mejorar nuestro medio ambiente, me ha apoyado con una beca lo cual me está ayudando a salir adelante con mis estudios, gracias a esta dicha institución hay personas que logran alcanzar sus sueños , ha cambiado vidas.
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer with AIRE in Guatemala. The work this organization is doing is changing the lives of the Guatemala people by helping them restore their land, planting trees, and provide a better life style by building indoor stoves. The AIRE volunteers are greatly appreciated by the people of Guatemala.
I had the privilege of volunteering for AIR this summer after supporting the project for many years. I was impressed with the ongoing relationship of respect that AIR has created with the members of the communities that it is working with. AIR has developed a sense of ownership on the part of the community members that contributes to investment by communities in the project and has helped in making these efforts sustaining. It has also created ways in which community members can develop small incoming producing products. Its scholarship program has enabled young people to obtain an education and to contribute to their communities. Its staff have expertise in the area of forestry and ecology and are dedicated to their work. I felt privileged to meet and work with some wonderful staff and community members.
AIR International is unique in its holistic approach to assisting indigenous Guatemalan Mayan villagers. I especially appreciate the focus on empowering villagers to create seed nurseries and on assisting othem in making their environment more sustainable and more healthy. The planting of trees, the building of stoves, and the education provided accomplish many objectives: elimination of mudslides that devastate villages by the planting of trees in vulnerable and remote areas; building stoves that use 50% less firewood and protect the health through proper venting; commitment to future by providing curriculum and technical education in over 200 schools; scholarships for outstanding students. Volunteering with AIR is a unique life experience that brings you into the villages and homes of Mayan families, sharing meals, culture, and good will.
AIR Guatemala and its mission for reforestation, empowerment of the Mayan indigenous population, especially women, and its education curriculum in over 300 schools to teach sustainability, has amazed me! The opportunity to be a working contributor to Dr. Hallum's vision by volunteering and bringing a team (we planted 1860 trees!) had been a dream of mine for many years. The past two summers I have been able to participate and to verify first hand the depth of AIR's work within the Mayan villages and to share the culture first hand. This is unique. The strength of more than 20 years success for a non-profit, with all Guatemalan employees in country, and volunteer teams that return each year illustrates AIR's appeal to those of us who sincerely want to share our time and resources to create opportunities for better liives for the beautiful, generous, and spiritual Mayan villagers. My team members and I found the experience enlightening, rewarding, hopeful, spiritual, and FUN! Hard work, too! AIR Guatemala is phenomenal.
AIR is everything a nonprofit should be - mission-focused, efficient, caring, locally-led and very, very effective. My company, Yoveo Media, had the privilege of capturing AIR's story on video, and I was consistently impressed by AIR's staff and programs. This is an organization you can get behind!
Volunteering with AIR, Alliance for International Reforestation, was truly a win-win experience. My teaching the sciences years ago, and participating with Florida Native Plant Society, made this humanitarian effort of reforestation a perfect fit for me. Though AIR's "volunteers" can only actively plant tree seedlings during the rainy Guatemalan summers, I am pleased to see that AIR continues to employ its indiginous core of "Technicos" (trainers and leaders) to work year round with Guatelmalan farmers, and communities to promote sustainably agriculture and forestry. This is a project that returns all but 3% its donations back into the project. Kudos to AIR, and Dr. Anne Hallum who had the vision and persistance to make this project work. She is one of my heros. This project shows what one person can do wnen moved to make a difference in the marginalized lives of an indiginous Guatemalan people still recovering from a 30 year cultural war, for their economic benefit and the health of the whole world.
AIR is one of the most impressive non-profits I know of. Being an educator myself, I especially admire the education component of this organization. A better future for these dear people will come education.
I love the work that A.I.R. is doing. Years ago I visited Guatemala and have visited again since. I love the Guatemalan people, and it is wonderful to have a non profit group there that is truly helping the people,
A.I.R. trains local folk to plant and tend more trees on the hillsides, thus avoiding mud slide disasters seen in other countries where preserving trees isn't widely understood when a hungry family needs fuel to cook their food. It's a catch -22 situation.The far more efficient stoves that they build for the villagers are so important in keeping the steep hills from being deforested, and the people with cooked food!
I am presently putting my 4th Guatemalan girl through high school, a small outlay with giant results. Raise the women of a country along with the men and you have a balanced society. How could anyone not want to contribute to such an effort! Mrs. Jan M Geisler, School Teacher, Florida, USA
I have been a volunteer with others from my Methodist Church in FL working with AIR in 2013 and 2014. We look forward to another exciting and hard-working trip in 2015. In all my volunteer experiences in Guatemala, including medical and construction trips, AIR stands out for providing an educational work experience where team members work alongside members of the communities served. My most cherished memories are the camaraderie and the feeling that our hard work makes a difference now and will continue to make a difference for future generations. If we help to prevent one landslide with planting trees, help make daily life safer and healthier by building a properly constructed and vented stove, or educate a future farmer, we help heal the world. The communities graciously welcomed us into their homes and prepared meals for us, giving us a glimpse of their daily lives and struggles.
It is important to me, on a personal level, that organizations I support with my time and dollars are fiscally responsible and that the highest possible percentage of funding goes directly into the project in a way that benefits those being served.
I look forward to continuing my support of AIR and visiting whenever possible to see how those trees have grown and to see the families also growing and thriving.
My husband and I are proud supporters of one of the secondary school scholarship students. She is an outstanding teenager, representing a hopeful future for this beautiful country still recovering from a painful history of civil war.
Paz y salud,
As a nonprofit CEO, I especially appreciate AIR's low administrative and overhead costs. Funds contributed are used responsibly and for the benefit of the people and environment of Guatemala. Volunteering for AIR this past summer was a rich and memorable experience, and one I hope to repeat in the future.
Review from Guidestar
I first met Dr. Anne Hallum at a North Georgia Presbyterian meeting in Athens, GA. She spoke with such passion about her organization, AIR-Guatemala, a nonprofit that promotes agro-forestry. I knew I wanted to see with my own eyes the wonderful things that her and her team were doing there. After arriving in Guatemala, I was immediately moved by the hard work and the dedication of her staff, who are all native to Guatemala. This, I believe, is the key to AIR’s successful program. The technical staff develop close and trusted relationships with the people they help. We, too, felt that closeness, even with the language barrier and the short amount of time spent with each other. The AIR staff always went out of their way to make us feel part of the team. The people of Guatemala were welcoming and were much appreciative of our presence. The communities are taught how and where to plant and develop beautiful tree nurseries. Each day, we traveled to a new community, meeting new people and working side-by-side with them.
Knowing that the accomplishments of planting trees will directly and immediately improve the lives of the community, this made volunteering for AIR a truly wonderful experience for me. I applaud Dr Hallum and the entire AIR staff for truly changing the world one tree at a time.
My 17 year old son and I volunteered in the summer of 2013 with AIR and it was an amazing experience. We worked side by side in God's good earth, planting trees and helping the native people improve their lives and health by building stoves. More than the demanding physical labor (as satisfying as it was), we enjoyed the ministry of presence. We ate lunch daily with the villagers at the particular site where we were working that day. We were recipients of their gratitude as they cooked generously for us, sharing what they harvested from their land. We will always remember AIR and the tangible good work this organization does for not only the people of Guatemala but for the environment.
Volunteering with AIR in Chimaltenango, Guatemala was truly an amazing experience. From interacting with different cultures, to witnessing how dynamic and involved community members (esp. the women) are in protecting their environment was truly fascinating. Their work not only caters to the natural environment but to personal development and whether you are a local community member or an overseas volunteer you get to witness the strengths and beauties of the local individuals you work with and how their commitment to each other produces incredible results and an effective organization.
Many organizations preach sustainability but AIR is by far THE MOST sustainable organization I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Over 20 years strong, this organization is a prime example of how great things come in small packages.
I’ve always possessed a strong desire to travel on a volunteer trip to see how others less fortunate than myself lived and contribute help in any way I am able. When the opportunity arose to do just that with AIR, I jumped on the chance, even though I knew very little about the organization. After arriving in Guatemala, I knew within the first day that I had made the right choice – and that it was going to be life-changing!
Dr. Anne Hallum and her AIR colleagues are the most passionate and kind-hearted people I've ever met. The employees of AIR are all local to Guatemala, fighting deforestation of their country and helping to preserve the future of their people. Not only is AIR helping local farmers and the environment, they are educating children through scholarships and creating a healthier environment for many women by building safer stoves. Being a part of their team for a week with a group of incredible people was a humbling and fulfilling experience.
We were able to see many of the people whose lives were greatly improved and forever changed by the impact of AIR’s work. Although I knew very little about AIR only a few months ago, it has changed the way I view the environment, it has made me into a more conscious and aware shopper, and it has become an organization I will always try to work into any and every conversation to spread the word! I’m forever grateful to Dr. Hallum, the employees of AIR and all of the people I met in Guatemala for this incredible experience. I look forward to next time!
I am extremely impressed with the work done by AIR! I had the opportunity to volunteer and help plant trees with a group of wonderful people this June. We also got to observe some of the wood stoves that were built and got to see first hand how they immensely changed the families lives for the better. The staff of AIR live in Guatemala and it is obvious they are passionate and proud of their work. Dr. Anne Hallum has created this amazing organization, and is truly making a huge difference in thousands of lives in Guatemala. I was honored to have the opportunity to be a part of this work, and hope to do it again!
This organization has been in existence for 21 years working in Guatemala. In that period of time, with a staff of just eight technicians and an annual budget of less than $200,000, it has worked with volunteers to plant over 4 million trees all by hand, establish tree nurseries in 130 communities, and build some 800 stoves which use less wood for cooking thereby saving a half a million trees. In addition, the staff works with 200 schools to teach the importance of conserving and reestablishing the forests in Guatemala. I have served as one of the volunteers in Guatemala planting the trees and observing what this amazing organization does on such a limited budget.
This organization has made a remarkable difference with a skeleton crew and a bare-bones budget in the countries of Guatamala and Nicaragua. The staff goes into villages and helps the residents first establish tree nurseries, teaches them how trees benefit their lives including how to farm using the trees to prevent erosion, and then helps them plant the trees from the nurseries. They also help the villagers build ovens that use much less wood for cooking so that fewer trees are cut down. In addition the staff goes into the schools to teach the children the importance of protecting the forests. This organization is definitely worthy of winning a 2013 Top-Rated Award.
Very impressed with the percentage of monies going to Guatemala and not for administration fees. Dr. Anne Hallum and her tireless efforts have been an inspiration to me and all those who know her. I strongly urge anyone that is looking for a non-profit that provides the most "bang for the buck," look no further!
Review from Guidestar
Es una organización que se preocupa por el medio ambiente ayuda con la reforestación de siembra de arboles, y al mismo tiempo apoya a varias personas con el estudio de sus hijos e hijas, es una institución que promueve a las familias a desarrollarse en su medio natural y a ser un ejemplo para la humanidad para cuidar el medio ambiente.
Esta organización es de beneficio para mi persona y como lo a sido con muchas personas mas la cual a llegado a lugares que otras instituciones no lo han podido hacer. Ayuda en el sentido de reforestar y también en capacitaciones de elaborar un camillero y como debe ser el manejo de un árbol. AIRES es una institución bien organizada y colaboradora en grupos rurales de la población de Guatemala.
Esta organización ayuda a las personas en muchos aspectos como por ejemplo, ayuda a las familias mas necesitadas dándole una beca de estudio a los hijos para que ellos puedan superarse y a la vez para que puedan ser personas intelectuales para contribuir por un futuro mejor en la familia como también en las propias comunidades, también aporta una ayuda muy importante para el sostenimiento del medio ambiente sembrando arboles y reforestando grandes montañas para el futuro y esto lo hacen sin pedir nada a cambio sino que solo tomar conciencia de lo que pasa a nuestro alrededor.