What is our vision?
Empowered communities with sustainable futures.
What is our mission?
To create locally-driven projects to ensure the educational and environmental development of El Paredón and neighbouring communities. We achieve this by providing skills, training and employment opportunities for community members funded by a social enterprise and donations.
…and how we do it
- We deliver education programmes to ensure locals can benefit economically from tourism, and have greater access to employment opportunities
- We ensure community members benefit financially from tourism
- We recognise the importance of positive impact tourism on the community, and work hard to prevent negative impact
- We employ and train local people
- We promote the preservation of local culture and the environment
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 Paredon Secondary School, realising a community dream of 25 years. The school is an amazing facility of three classrooms that has brought education to the local community, whilst also running teacher training workshops that are now impacting the whole municipality.
Construction of the Secondary School Organic Fruit and Vegetable garden. The garden was built to teach the students on how to build and maintain a garden, growing a wide variety of vegetables, plants and fruits, as well as lessons in nutrition and also the basics of setting up a business as they grow and then sell the produce to the local community.
Construction of the The Ojah Computer Laboratory, rated the best in the municipality, where we host secondary school computer education, teacher training and information technology workshops.
Award winning tour company, Chula Tours, providing work to over 20 local people, whilst also promoting environmental conservation.
Our internationally sold Chula Products. These handmade products are part of our social enterprise initiatives to create an income for women and young people in the village
Our own English classes in both primary and secondary school and also for tour guides, hotel staff and the wider community.
Environmental programmes to raise awareness on the environmental issues in the community. This includes community wide beach and mangrove clean ups, mangrove reforestation and a wide array of environmental education activities.
• Annual & Financial Reports:
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 Paredon 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.