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!
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.
AIRES es una organización que no solo crea conciencia del mejoramiento del ambiente sino que también ayuda a cambiar vidas mediante sus diversos programas, los mejores ejemplos están en cada una de las personas que son atendidas y que reciben a AIRES con gran estimación, muchos de ellos han logrado mejorar la protección de sus recursos como sus tierras, sus fuentes de agua y cosechas. a si mismo han logrado tener ingresos económicos extras mediante procesamiento de algunas plantas medicinales y apoyo a la educación de sus hijos, cada día AIRES cumplen una misión de gran importancia en este país.
MUY PROFESIONALES EN LO QUE HACEN, DE MUCHA IMPORTANCIA PARA EL MUNDO QUE ESTA SUFRIENDO EL CALENTAMIENTO GLOBAL Y A TRAVEZ DE LA REFORESTACION ESTAN MINIMIZANDO ESTE PROBLEMA.
Bueno a mi parece esta organización es una de las pocas que ayudan al beneficio de la Comunidad Humana así que sin mas pienso ya que ha crecido tanto en su desempeño hacia las demás personas claramente se ve que con lo poco que tienen logran hacer de ello una grandisima ayuda para el que necesite de ella y pues en lo personal si quisiera que existieran posibilidades de que otras instituciones mayores a esta le brindaran mas apoyo para que cada día creciera mas y así los países subdesarrollados como el nuestro que es Guatemala lograra tener un granito mas de desarrollo con los habitantes que si desean el cambio de el País si todos los que conocemos esta organización pudiéramos dar nuestra opinión se vería que Aires si es una familia en abundancia ya que así considero a la Institución como una gran Familia.
Nos enseña muchas cosas buenas, es una mano amiga para todas las personas hemos aprendido atravez de ella a ser solidarios con las demás personas que nos necesitan, especialmente a personas pobres que viven en el área rural , por que nos incita a cuidar nuestro medio natural y nuestro planeta, por que los beneficiados somos todos cuando se siembra un árbol que a lo largo del tiempo ayudara a nuestro planeta para que ya no se destruya mas, recordemos que" si Convertimos un árbol en leña, podrá arder para nosotros ; pero ya no producirá flores ni frutos y mucho menos nos dará el oxigeno. "
AIR is an amazing organization. I learned much and am in awe of the things we experiences while we were in Guatamala. Planting trees on steep hillsides was a real task, for me at least and I am sure others of our team. I especially enjoyed our day at the school and the excellent program they put on for us. wish I could see some of that dedication and structure in our schools.
Overall the trip was was a great experience for me, and your staff was the best.
Although this was my fist volunteer experience with an organization outside of the United States, I was pleasantly surprised at how hassle-free our whole experience was. The AIRS staff run an extremely efficient operation, and it is amazing how much is actually accomplished with minimal staff. They are a committed, dedicated and enthusiastic bunch, and their commitment to the important goals of AIRS is quite obvious. In less than a week, our small volunteer group was able to plant over 2000 trees and build 3 stoves, thanks to the planning and organization of the AIRS staff, and the hard work of volunteers, staff and people in the local villages. And, since the AIRS staff continues to work and follow up long after volunteers leave, the work we did will have a true lasting impact. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in such important work!