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CdlR

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3 reviews

Review for Xela AID Partnerships for Self Reliance, Long Beach, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The Most Important Work I Have Ever Done

Eleven years ago, my wife Claudia and I joined a group of volunteers going to Guatemala with Xela AID, one of the yearly trips they’ve been making for over a decade. Our goal was to bring medicines and doctors to the village of San Martín Chiquito and to support several projects that were under way. We were also to look at their scholarship program and help wherever it was necessary. Finally, we were going to have some time to relax and decompress after the hard work in the village.

Well, little did I know that this 10-day trip was going to change my life and transform the lives of many others around me. We met three girls that stole our hearts and became part of our family for the next decade. One of them is now married and has a beautiful 3-year-old daughter; the second one just got married and is expecting a baby, and the third one is still in school and is preparing to study to be a nurse. By partnering with their families, we provided them an opportunity to break a cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and frankly, despair, and helped them become productive, educated indigenous women in a society dominated by men.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg for us. We became more and more involved in the project, with the weavers, their dreams, and their ideals; with the village youth, exploring with them ways to become leaders of their communities and their destinies. We helped save lives; we saw people rise from the mud of their collapsing adobe ruins to become productive families, working, learning to read and write, their children getting educated and healthier, with dignity.

And the tears flowed freely on that first trip and every trip afterward as the impact of what we had seen and as the impact of what we were doing finally sunk in. Tears of joy at seeing old friends thriving, children turned into men and women, a new generation of children healthier, energetic, and eager to learn. Mayan women becoming masters of pedagogy, artists proud of their work and remunerated fairly for it; adult women aspiring to become professionals, using computers, showing their leadership skills, humble and friendly, in charge of their own futures.

Xela AID is more than a project. These trips are more than just volunteer trips. Xela AID is a model for self-reliance, for honorable and effective collaborations between equals, of sharing resources and succeeding together in saving lives and helping people succeed and achieve their dreams. These trips are journeys of the heart, soul wrenching and life giving, purpose driven and filled with strong commitments to bring prosperity and dignity to the poorest of the poor.

These trips, this organization changes people’s lives, the Guatemalans lives and ours as well. This work is the most significant work that I have ever done.

Carlos de la Rosa

Role:  Advisor
 

Review for Xela AID Partnerships for Self Reliance, Long Beach, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

There are many projects and organizations that compete for our attention and our money. Many are definitely worthwhile investing on, and they do a good job in their fields. However, I have never belonged to an organization whose work has positively changed so many lives, permanently, in transformational ways, and I include my own life in this change. Organizations that focus on the balance between Education, Health, Environmental Sustainability, and Work Opportunities are seldom found in the developing world. Xela AID believes that there can’t be real development in any community if one or more of these elements are missing. It is like a four-legged stool. If you want the stool to go higher and higher, you have to elevate all four legs simultaneously, or risk upsetting the balance and even fall. This is what Xela AID does, quietly, consistently, year after year, with the help of a small and dedicated staff and hundreds of volunteers. Xela AID has changed the lives of hundreds of children, many of them now productive adults, through education scholarships, giving them the opportunity to learn and aspire to a better life. Xela AID has accompanied their scholarships with holistic health programs for the children and their families, improving their lives so they can learn better and become productive citizens. Xela AID has provided, through micro-loans and other programs, opportunities for women and youth to develop their own businesses and support themselves and their families through their own efforts and creativity. And Xela AID has invested in developing strategies for environmental health in their communities, from clean water, to waste management, improvements to homes and much more. Xela AID is a model for how development aid should be. Your support for this organization will help expand and replicate this successful model to other communities in Guatemala and beyond. And your life will be changed by your involvement. Irreversibly and for the better. Whether you go on a volunteer trip once, become a long-term supporter and a donor, or become part of the leadership of the organization, your life will never be the same again. Your heart will expand in your chest and it will hurt, and you will do things you never thought you could do. And you will make friends for life, expand your horizons beyond belief; and you will become a better person too.

Role:  Board Member
 

Review for Xela AID Partnerships for Self Reliance, Long Beach, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

In the seven years we've been part of Xela AID, first as volunteers and now as part of the Board, I've been struck by the amazing changes that the various programs have on the people of these communities. The balanced approach of working on the four pillars of development, health, education, environment and work opportunities, provides the best template I've seen for true sustainability. As a model for integral community development this should be enough. However, there is also the personal, deep and emotional involvement with people that become your friends and family for life. Sponsored children given an opportunity of education and health become young adults with high dreams and unending energy; humble women become community leaders and master teachers, empowered business women and public speakers; shy young students become group leaders and movers of humanitarian projects. Xela AID saves lives, builds capacity, deals with emergencies, gathers resources and empowers people. There is so much potential, so many opportunities, and already so many accomplishments. I look forward to many more years of partnering with these communities working together for their future.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Xela AID is growing and becoming more professional. The only thing I would suggest is to continue to think big and search for larger grants that would allow the consolidation of the programs and the spread of the successful model. Efforts towards an endowment would help achieve this goal.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Role:  Board Member