The founders of a project that aims create a self-sustaining children’s village in Guatemala spoke in Rossland Saturday night. Project Somos founders Heather Knox and Greg Kemp talked about their experiences in the past two years creating the project.
The goal is to create seven family homes which would take in orphaned and abandoned children in Guatemala. The homes will eventually be made self-sustaining by farming, voluntourism and other innovative ideas.
Knox and Kemp will eventually step back from the project once it is sustaining itself.
So far, they have two of the seven family homes almost complete.
They decided to build them in twos, Knox said, as a way to help in reaching a self-sustaining system.
A multi-purpose recreation facility will be build alongside, which will create funds for the family housing.
“This village is a home within a community with lots of beauty, lots of opportunity and tons of love and that real sense that they are someone who matters and someone who has real potential like myself or anyone else,” Knox explains in a video they showed.
Knox explained that the complex, once built, will be used for weddings, festivals and also for volunteers to stay.
On top of that the village is being built on an area that is highly arable, and so Kemp said they have tremendous opportunity to grow organic produce, like blackberries.
Berry jam and other things could become a product the village sells, with Kemp saying they would be looking for the niches in the market.
Guatemala is very different from Canada. Kemp said that in terms of schooling, only 35 per cent ever make it to high school.
“The largest drop out is in first grade,” Kemp said, explaining that is mostly because half the population is indigenous and speak their own languages. School is taught in Spanish, so those who can’t understand just drop-out. “There is no Spanish Second Language.”
Many of the kids have to work, and since school is not cheap they never make it back.
From 1960-90 there was a genocide in Guatemala, which left 200,000 indigenous Mayan people dead.
For more info or to learn how to volunteer go to www.projectsomos.org.