I came to Guatemala with the intention to get to know the people and the places of this beautiful, volcanic land; with AsociaciÃ³n Nuestros Ahijados, I was given exactly that opportunity. I had the privilege to work with ANA for two months as an English teacher in the elementary school (preschool through 6th grade), a casual volunteer at Casa Jackson (a temporary home for malnourished infants), and an office volunteer when the need presented itself (web development, editing, and photography at times). The people of ANA are genuinely excited about the purpose of their work, which shows through their continual dedication to internal growth as well as their desire to always present a quality organization to outsiders. With a full staff of skilled Guatemalans, plus various short and long term volunteers from all over the world, this organization has worked hard to be a strong presence in the community as well as an international voice that speaks out on the important issues facing those suffering from poverty and exploitation. With various emphases on helping families out of poverty, teaching Guatemalans about how to overcome difficult circumstances, educating children who do not normally have access to education, working to rid Guatemala of sexual exploitation through human trafficking, bringing infants out of chronic malnutrition, serving the homeless of Antigua, reaching out to communities of the Panchoy Valley through clothing, food, and education, teaching teenagers who have passed the common school age the basics, and treating patients for free through the health and dental clinics, there’s a variety of jobs to do for anyone looking to volunteer. Out of all my time in Guatemala, I was mostly impacted by the time I was able to spend with the children, getting to know them and learning their stories. Through these interactions, I was able to understand that the project truly exists to provide the poorest of the poor with resources they normally would not have a chance to access on their own. ANA is making a difference both in Guatemala and worldwide. Their willingness to share the vision with outsiders such as myself is a blessing that I know will enrich my life for years to come. I am thankful for being given this opportunity and I hope that you too will benefit from spending time with ANA!
I've been involved with ANA for more than 2 years now. This is an exemplary organization that is really making a difference in the world. Having interacted with many members of the organization on many different levels, I have nothing but great things to say about the people involved with ANA, their devotion to the mission of empowering youth, and their compassion for the voiceless and suffering people in our world. I will continue to recommend this organization to my friends and colleagues.
I had a great experience with Nuestros Ahijados! I spent the first 2 weeks in an orientation program, where I became familiar with all aspects of their operation. During the orientation, I found my nitch in the human trafficking office (ITEMP), and worked closely with the staff and other volunteers. They were super flexible with my class schedule, various trips around Guatemala and back to the States. They seemed eager for any help I wanted to offer, but they never pressured me into offering more help than I wanted to give. It is an impressive organization with a professional and dedicated staff. If you go help out, I am sure you will have a great experience!