We work to improve the quality of education, create employment opportunities and promote positive integration between tourists and local communities. We achieve this through sustainable education, enterprise and environmental projects.
To create a sustainable future for coastal communities in Guatemala through locally-driven education, enterprise and environmental projects.
…and how we do it
• Year round education activities for children and young people through our Buena Vista library, secondary school and computer lab
• Vocational training programmes and enterprise initiatives for community members
• Promotion of conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in El Paredón
• Introducing new project partners to come and share their area of expertise
Some of our proud achievements:
• Construction of the Biblioteca Buena Vista, the first dedicated library in the village, where we run a wide variety of educational programmes and have collected over 2000 books available to the whole community
• Construction of the El Paredón Secondary School, an amazing new facility with a focus on vocational training that enables young people to stay in education
• Construction of the The Ojah Computer Laboratory where we host information technology workshops and teacher training for the municipality
• Our Award winning tour company, Chula Tours, providing employment to over 30 guides and hosts in the community
• Our locally handmade Chula Products, one of our social enterprise initiatives to create an income for women and young people in the village
• Our own English classes for tour guides, hotel staff, surf instructors and school children
Secondary school vegetable garden
4 in 10 children in Guatemala are chronically malnourished, a condition that causes them to drop out of school, lowers their productivity and makes them susceptible to illness… (UNICEF)
In El Paredón there is a lack of healthy, fresh produce, with most fruit and vegetables arriving on a pickup truck once a week. There is also the need for nutritional education and awareness raising about the benefits of a balanced, healthy diet.
Therefore, working in partnership with a permaculture expert, volunteers will construct and plant a permaculture garden at the secondary school and train 60 young people in the process.
The project will include: 5 garden beds constructed and planted with seedlings; design of appropriate signage and navigation around the garden; designated compost area with clear instructions on how to maintain it; 1 resource pack to sum up all permaculture information and garden set up so that it can be used by the secondary school in the future. To find out how you can support this project please contact us email@example.com
Community café & workshop space
As tourism grows in El Paredon, the need for the local community to speak English, learn how to set up their own businesses and how to look after their environment is becoming increasingly important.
There is a lack of formal job opportunities and young people often have to leave town in search of work. This is why La Choza Chula will build a community cafe to provide local jobs and generate income to support our community development projects. The workshop space will be used to deliver training and education courses, and there will be an office, a shop and accommodation for volunteers. This will all be built by community members, providing local employment throughout construction.
La Choza Chula was established in June 2012
Founders Julia Harriman and Carla Thomas met in London working together on empowerment programmes with young people from disenfranchised communities.
Leaving the UK to use their skills in Latin America, they spent time visiting and researching various non-profit organisations in Mexico and Belize. Particularly inspiring was the Toledo Ecotourism Association in Belize and their unique model of community based tourism run by the local Mayan people in a remote rural setting.
Arriving in El Paredón in Guatemala, they were struck by the potential for a similar model due to the outstanding natural beauty of the area, warm people, growing surf tourism and a lack of connection between tourists, local people and the village economy.
Starting out teaching English, a month later they began running community tours and employing local guides. Three months later they opened a workshop where young people could learn how to make and sell crafts to tourists and the organisation has grown from there.