This spring, we were sad to say goodbye to our intern, Julia. But like most GG staff, goodbye isn’t forever. Julia has kept us up-to-date on her adventures, including some GG related. Recently, she returned from a trip through Central America with her boyfriend to celebrate their graduate school graduations. Check out what she had to say, and visit her blog to find out more!
In May, my boyfriend, Marcus, and I took a trip to Central America in honor of our graduate school graduations. For him, it was a chance to explore and unwind, but for me, it was so much more. You see, I’ve spent the last eight years griping about world poverty and the last four studying it. But, until May, I had never been to a developing nation in my life, and I had never seen with my own eyes the problems or the solutions in action.
Just outside of Antigua, Guatemala, about a 45-minute drive through the mountains, there is a small town called Santiago, which is home to AFEDES, the Women’s Association for the Development of the Sacatepéquez Region. Here, 11 indigenous women run an organization with roughly 34 chapters and 1,000 members. A true grassroots organization, AFEDES was founded by women who believed that they could improve the quality of life in their region by working together. And so they have.
AFEDES runs programs that empower women academically, economically, politically, psychologically, and socially. The women of AFEDES provide loans to help families send young girls to school and loans to help local women with their small businesses. They run workshops to educate women on women’s rights, sexual health, civic engagement, and financial management; they provide a forum for women to discuss issues of gender, self-esteem, and community. In May, I visited the organization to learn more about one specific program-a program that I helped fund through GlobalGiving.
When Marcus and I decided to travel to Central America, we also decided that we wanted to do it responsibly-we wanted to give something back to the people and the places that would give us new experiences and lifelong memories. So, we each made donations to a grassroots program in every country that we would visit. AFEDES’s Foot Loom Training Program was my Guatemalan pick, and they, together with GlobalGiving, invited me to visit the Santiago office in person, so that I could finally see with my own eyes a solution in action.