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.
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.
I have enthusiastically served as a board member for several years, due to AIR's impressive international reputation as a productive and culturally sensitive organization. Through active reforestation programs, scholarship programs, and the construction of stoves that allow families to forego open cook fires for a more healthy and efficient alternative, AIR has earned a reputation as a valued partner in the local communities it serves. Not only does AIR have an exemplary record of accomplishments, but it is even more remarkable that it has achieved them through honoring and respecting the local, largely indigenous, way of life.
Alliance for International Reforestation is a wonderful organization. We educate families in Guatemala concerning the environmental challenges facing their country. We help them plant trees to avoid flooding and destruction of the environment. We have established tree nurseries. We build fuel efficient brick ovens for families to help end the pollution and smoke hazards occurring in their homes. We provide scholarships for children. Our staff is dedicated and hard working. We make a difference in the lives of families in Guatemala and establish a model project that can be duplicated in other countries to lessen the environmental challenges faced by developing countries.
The Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR) works in Guatemala to assist communities in the mountains develop sustainable agro-forestry. I was part of work teams in 2002 and 2007 that assisted villagers plant trees to stop erosion in the mountainous terrain around Chimaltenago. The teams were hosted by a professional staff of Guatemalans. This project change lives of the communities where they serve - and it has changed mine as well. AIR does this by building nurseries and relationships to plant trees. In addition they respond to various human needs created by natural disasters such as Hurricane Mitch and volcanoes. My trips have turned into regular monthly support of AIR. I recommend this project for it allows an individual to participate in life-changing work. Who knows? If you support or participate the life that is changed just might be yours.
As a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala I wanted to work in some way to support development at the grassroots level in Central America. AIR has provided me with the opportuntiy to work with Guatemalans as they seek to serve the poor in their country through reforestation, improved farming techniques, community organizing and education. AIR has no paid staff in the US and has on the average 8 Guatemalans working with the indigenous farmers in their own communities and surrounding villages. AIR has planted several million trees and touched the lives of hundreds of Guatemalans and dozens of citizens of the United States who have had the opportunity to work with AIR in Guatemala on a volunteer basis. I have chosen to be part of and support AIR as I have not seen an organization that does a better job of giving individuals from different countries and cultures the opportunity to serve beside each other and as part of the same team. Also AIR for the size of its budget and number of individuals involved has accomplished on a yearly basis much more than organizations several times larger with much larger budgets.