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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Alliance for International Reforestation, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Bird Sanctuaries, Environment, Food, Land Resources Conservation, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission: AIR was established in 1992 with the mission of implementing environmental education programs and Sustainable Farming methods with low-income rural families in Central America, in order to reduce hunger and malnutrition, while preventing erosion and deadly mudslides.

Results: Over 3,000 farm families have received training; 860 custom-built, efficient stoves have been constructed to prevent lung disease and conserve precious wood; and over 5 million trees have been planted by hand! In addition, over two dozen AIRES tree nurseries have become micro-businesses enabling farmers to add to family incomes while planting even more trees.

Target demographics: the rural families, and the Earth

Direct beneficiaries per year: Groups in 46 communities & rural schools!

Geographic areas served: Central Guatemala

Programs:

  • Tree Nurseries - After twenty years, AIR has approximately 300 nurseries in over 130 villages and schools in Guatemala. The population served by these nurseries are the resident families who participate in the agro-forestry training by AIR technicians and who manage the tree nurseries and own the tree seedlings produced. AIR provides all seeds; materials and training. AIR also provides school curriculum, scholarships, and programs in rural schools. Finally, AIR constructs fuel-efficient stoves to protect lung health and cut the use of firewood in half, conserving precious trees!

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

heyauntgg

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Smiley54

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's been a joy and an honor to serve as a volunteer with this wonderful organization.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Suzanne40

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2 Kristina22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Scott68

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.