Our Partnership with Puerta Abierta to Increase Our Impact in Santiago

 

Who is Puerta Abierta? 

Puerta Abierta is another non-profit in Santiago Atitlán focused on education and development of the community.

 

They have opened the first creative school in the area that focuses on education through innovative programming for students at the kindergarten level through to grade six. They also have a community library that is open to other schools and programs to use as a resource to support their curriculums. 

School in Santiago, Guatemala

School in Santiago, Guatemala

What Does Our Partnership Look Like?

At the beginning of this year, we began our partnership with Puerta Abierta in order to bring more programming, resources, and development to Santiago. 

 

We are providing English lessons to all students at Puerta Abierta, and providing bilingual materials to support their learning as well. Our English teacher volunteers are sharing their time with Puerta Abierta to ensure that these English classes are being delivered to their students on a regular basis. 

 

In exchange, Puerta Abierta has provided us with books and materials to help our teachers with lesson planning and developing activities for our Learning Center so that they are well prepared and equipped, especially since some of our volunteers do not have an education background. 

 

Amanda, the founder of Puerta Abierta, has also prepared a workshop as a resource for our teachers to learn techniques when working with younger students. We are so thankful for the opportunity to learn from their work in alternative education in Santiago. 

English Teacher Volunteer in Guatemala

English Teacher Volunteer in Guatemala

Our Impact

This partnership means that both organizations can have a stronger impact. Amanda Flyer, the founder of Puerta Abierta talks about our impact and work together:  

 

«At the beginning of 2022, we were overjoyed to learn that One Two…Tree! would be partnering with the Puerta Abierta Learning Center to offer English classes to our students. 

 

Our collaboration with One Two…Tree! goes much further than teaching English. My favorite moments of observation have been the mutual exchanges of inquiry and curiosity passed between volunteers, teachers, and students regarding culture, lifestyles, and countries of origin.  We have been fortunate to receive volunteers from Greece, Spain, Belgium, France, and different areas of Guatemala in just a short span of time.

 

One Two…Tree! volunteers have also been collaborating with ongoing cultural exchanges that the Puerta Abierta has established with schools in the United States. I have found great joy in working with Carmela on our preschool exchange with a school based in Boston, MA.  I’m grateful for Carmela’s extra set of hands and creative outlook which have enhanced our interaction with young children in Guatemala and the USA.» 

Puerta Abierta Partnership

Puerta Abierta Partnership

Joining Forces 

Our partnership is beneficial for both nonprofits to do their work efficiently and effectively. Juanita Chiviliú, the Director of Puerta Abierta explains what this partnership means for her work. 

 

«As the director of an unconventional school in rural Guatemala, finding creative, dynamic, and empathetic English teachers proves to be a great challenge. So having the link this year with One Two…Tree! has been a great opportunity for our center to continue to provide an education full of love, joy, and celebration of cultures with our students.

 

Personally, I love to see the friendship that is cultivated between the volunteers and the students and teachers during the English classes. Teachers and children always want more, which means that they enjoy it and want to learn, so both institutions are achieving our goals.”

English Teacher Volunteer in Santiago

Your Role As A Volunteer

Mary Chiviliu Ajtujal, a sixth-grade teacher with Puerta Abierta talks about the role of One Two Tree…! volunteers within this partnership. 

 

«It has been nice to have the teachers of One Two Tree…! in the class during these months. For the students, it has been very positive to see different people and learn about other cultures while learning another language. It has helped them a lot since sometimes it is difficult to meet and talk with new people. 

 

The teachers have made it possible to resume learning the English language. It has been difficult lately with the hybrid education modality (online and in person, due to the pandemic) to maintain continuous learning of this language, but the teachers have been very open to accommodate the changes that this modality represents. All the teachers are very grateful for the openness, passion, and creativity that they bring to our center in this way and in other ways.»

 

We are so grateful for and excited about this partnership with Puerta Abierta and all of the possibilities it brings to the students and the community of Santiago Atitlán. 

 

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with us and Puerta Abierta, please send us an email to: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com  

#Interview Series: Leire

Hello! Welcome to this new interview!

Hello! Thanks for inviting me! It is nice meeting you.

Could you tell us more about your background? Are you studying/working?

I have a degree in Teaching (education), but I finished four years ago. Since then, I have been travelling abroad and now I am back in Spain.

 

How did you get to know 1,2 Tree?

So, I got a friend who was doing a volunteering experience in Nicaragua. I think it was five years ago, and she already had an experience with this organization, so when I started looking for NGOs offering volunteering experiences, I asked her for a recommendation and so that is how I became a 1,2 Tree volunteer.

 

How long did you volunteer with the organization? And Where?

I went there last year and I stayed almost two months: I went there at the end of October and I stayed until Christmas. I was in Mexico!

 

What was your daily life as an educational volunteer?

I worked four days: from  Monday to Thursday. Usually, we had from three to four lessons in the morning, in the public school and then we would switch to the boarding school because there were two schools. We used to go first to the boarding school indeed, stay there with the kins and also do some games.

 

How many volunteers were in the learning center with you?

We were five or six volunteers and we really had a good team! We used to go to different places and that really created a cool atmosphere to live in.

 

Which is the best memory you have of your experience there?

Nice question! I would say the day that we painted a tree on the wall: basically, we painted a wall and the kids had colored hands and it was amazing! Everyone was happy, singing and having fun. I really have a good memory of that day!

 

Oh wow! That seems very nice. I knew also other volunteers, first Totó told me that same memory.

 

Would you say that our volunteering work had an impact on the community/kids?

Yes, I really think so and I thought I also learned a lot from the kids and the local people back there.

 

Yeah, I can understand. Anyhow, sometimes there are many controversies regarding international volunteering activities, like programs where you need to pay a lot of fees. 123 is one of the few that you can trust for this!

 

I didn’t pay anything and this is the reason why I decided to start this project with 123. When you have to volunteer you are already ‘paying back’ I think. Of course, we bought some presents for the kids, but I never had to pay a fee. I knew what my money was for (e.g. food and accommodation costs) and my flight which I personally paid. I organized myself to book the ticket to go there.

 

What would you recommend to future volunteers who want to start this adventure?

I would say that it is an amazing experience! You will never forget it and I think to live the full experience to really understand it. You need to live it in person because there are no words to explain it.

 

I really recommend volunteering with 1,2 Tree. I really felt welcome when I went there. They explained everything, so I knew how was the project like. At the start, it’s gonna be hard,  don’t think you’re coming here for holidays and you’re not gonna work! They didn’t try to persuade me or else. So I would say that they are very clear and try to solve any problem. So if you have any doubts they would be happy to explain everything you need. I am really happy now.