Volunteering in Guatemala
One of the essential pillars of JDAE's activity is the volunteering that is organized annually to go to work on site in the project, usually in the summer months. Traveling to Guatemala and knowing first-hand the reality of the children of Santa María de Jesús will enrich you personally, and will make you fully involved there, on the ground.
The members of JDAE consider that you will need at least a month to take advantage of your stay in Jardín de Amor and soak up the project. It will be worth it, because you will live an experience that will change you completely. You will get to know first-hand how the school works and become part of the JDA family.
One of the main tasks of the volunteer focuses on the work inside the classrooms. Your role in the school will be to support the teachers, adapting to the school schedule and participating in those classes assigned to you. It should be added that creativity and imagination are two key ingredients for any activity that you want to do with students. Educational games, for example, are a good option so that they are not distracted and acquire the content better. In addition, during recess and non-school hours you can spend more time with them: watch movies, read stories, play soccer, teach them to make bracelets, etc.
What preparation is needed? As a volunteer, the only thing you will need to have is energy, enthusiasm and the desire to spread joy. The children of the project come to school loaded with family, economic or health problems. By coming here, you have to be willing to live a person-centered experience, welcoming everyone as they are and caring for their growth. Only then can you offer them all the help they require. You will immediately become fond of them, they will take you to know their houses, their families and they will even be your guides through Santa María de Jesús. Of course, do not be surprised if they end up showing you much more affection than you can give them: that is the magic of Garden of Love. We assure you that in the end you will not want to return.
But JDA is not only concerned with the education of these children. We are aware of how important good nutrition is for their proper physical and mental development, so at school a daily meal is distributed to each child along with a vitamin supplement to complement the diet they take at home (which, unfortunately , is often insufficient). The volunteer will help the teachers to distribute the food and make sure that the children do not leave anything on the plate.
We also participate in other areas as basic as housing and infrastructure. JDA dedicates a good part of the funds raised to building or renovating the houses of some families according to their needs (many of them are made of wood or even sheet metal), as well as the growth of the school. The volunteer must be willing to volunteer as a labor force and assist in construction tasks, always under the supervision of professional masons who will direct the work at all times. It may seem harsh at times, but there is nothing more rewarding than watching the school grow year after year with the help of our own hands. Because thanks to this, more and more children of Santa María de Jesús can benefit from the education that JDA offers them.
But don't worry, not everything will be work! Volunteers also enjoy free days that they can dedicate to discover the wonders of Guatemala, a country full of natural riches and tourist destinations very different from those we are used to seeing in Europe. The colonial city of Antigua Guatemala (where our volunteers stay) is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Central America. Movie places such as the Fuego volcano, Agua volcano (on whose skirt the school is located), Pacaya or Alotenango. The majestic Lake Atitlán, surrounded by volcanoes and small fishing villages. The Semuc Champey rainforest and its natural waterfalls. The ancient Mayan city of Tikal, with its temples and pyramids. The black sand beaches of the Pacific… And many other unforgettable destinations. A country, without a doubt, worth knowing.
After all ... Do you need more reasons? Don't think twice, and BECOME A VOLUNTEER FOR JDAE!