How Our Partnership With Cojolyá Empowers Our Community

Who Is Cojolyá and What Is Their Impact? 

 

Cojolyá is a nonprofit organization in Santiago Atitlán that began during the Civil War in 1983. They have developed into an association of artisans who create Fair Trade products for sale locally and internationally. They have a holistic approach, which includes providing educational programs for the children of the community, as well as personal and professional development for the artisans. 

 

Cojolyá is currently supporting 10 children and adolescents through their programs by providing them with school supplies and scholarships. Lately, the children have had a tutor because of the restrictions in public schools due to the pandemic, so their assistance also covers the tutors’ fees.

 

Not only is Cojolyá having a direct impact on the lives of the artisans, their families and the general community of Santiago, but they are contributing to the world of Fair Trade as well.

nglish Teacher Volunteers in Santiago

English Teacher Volunteers in Santiago

 

How Does Our Partnership Work?  

 

One, Two…Tree! has partnered with Cojolyá to ensure that both organizations are able to have double the impact in Santiago. 

 

Starting last year, we teamed up with them to provide their students with English lessons. Through our first program with them, we could see the positive impact that in person classes were having on the students. Our English teacher volunteers have been going to Cojolyá to teach English classes as part of their curriculum, and now, with our very own Learning Center, the students will be able to join our lessons as well for more opportunities to practice and learn English. 

 

Similarly, Don Antonio, Cojolyá’s artisan founder, and Carina, their administrator both attend our adult class at the center as well. 

 

Learning English in Guatemala

Learning English in Guatemala

 

This year, we are collaborating on various activities with the students of Cojolyá every month, which provides them with different ways to practice and learn English that are outside the traditional methods of education. For example, every month we host a cultural celebration in English where we choose a different theme each time so that the students can learn new vocabulary in a fun and unique way. 

 

One of our volunteers, Kelly from Greece, was also a part-time volunteer with Cojolyá when she was here earlier this year. Some of our other volunteers have collaborated with Cojolyá’s partner artisans by taking their weaving classes and buying their products, since Cojolyá is a weaving association part of the World Fair Trade Organization. Doña María, one of the partner artisans, really enjoyed the visit from our volunteers, so she dressed them all in traditional clothes! 

 

English Teachers in Guatemala

English Teachers in Guatemala

 

What Is Your Role As An English Teacher Volunteer? 

 

Apart from physically teaching the children in the classroom and participating in activities, we love when our volunteers get creative and help us find new ways to present English materials to our students. 

 

For example, this year, our volunteers Elinor from Belgium, Alizée from France, Kelly from Greece, Carmela from Spain, and Gersom from Guatemala, have all been helping us plan the cultural activities and curriculum for the students. They ensure that each student receives equal amounts of attention and opportunities to practice their English through fun activities. Carmela, one of our volunteers, is also a part-time volunteer with Cojolyá as a math tutor for their students.

 

We are proud to be partnering with Cojolyá to provide their students with the opportunity to learn English to increase the overall impact of education and development in Santiago Atitlán. 

 

Teach English in Guatemala

Teach English in Guatemala

 

Volunteer With Us This Year! 

 

We are seeking more English teacher volunteers to come to Santiago, Guatemala to help us expand our programs, reach, and impact on the community. 

 

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

 

Nonprofit partnership in Guatemala

Nonprofit partnership in Guatemala

 

 

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  

What does Teaching English in Guatemala look like in 2022?

Our Objective in 2022 Is To Provide More English Lessons in Guatemala

English teacher volunteer in classroom with children in Guatemala

Teacher Pauline with students.

You may be wondering what our programs and teaching English in Guatemala will look like in 2022, entering a new year with the pandemic still ongoing. 

 

Our objective remains the same: to introduce English lessons in public schools in Santiago Atitlán, one of the Maya indigenous communities on Lake Atitlán, in order to help kids and teenagers have the best possible education. 

 

At this moment, we are still collaborating with elementary schools in Santiago, and we are also establishing a relationship with our first secondary school, where our volunteers will teach English to children of various ages in 2022. Through these lessons, we are preparing the students for their English classes in school in the following years. They can also use this knowledge in their future professional lives, as the tourism industry in Central America is one of the main contributors to the local economy. 

 

How Does the Pandemic Affect Volunteer Teachers 

 

English lessons in Santiago Atitlan

English lessons in Santiago Atitlan

The pandemic impacted our work greatly, however, we did reactivate our programs in 2021, and we are looking to expand our work again to maximize our impact in Central America as soon as possible.

 

Currently, our teaching schedule in public schools is subject to the local authorities’ decisions regarding covid restrictions and safety measures. Due to this, we have part-time opportunities available, which gives you, the volunteer, more flexibility to work on personal projects or part-time work. We also have full-time opportunities available for those who want to immerse themselves completely in our work and help out where restrictions allow.

 

 

 

 

Enhance your Volunteering Experience in Guatemala

 

Volunteers participating in local projects in Santiago, Guatemala

Volunteers participating in local projects in Santiago, Guatemala

Although classroom time in schools may be restricted due to changing safety protocols, we also teach English to adults and teenagers through collaborations with local projects and encourage volunteers to participate in community-building activities in other ways as well.

 

There are multiple chances to help the community grow and to immerse yourself in local culture by getting involved in local projects, such as taking care of the environment, helping at a local community farm, coffee cooperative, or artisan cooperative.

 

We have collaborations with Cojolyá, a collective of artisan mothers; Cope Atitlán, a coffee cooperative; Amigos del Lago, an environment preservation program; and ADECCAP, a local community farm, and waste management program.

 

Become an English Teacher Volunteer with One Two…Tree! in 2022

 

Although the situation on the ground in Guatemala is constantly changing, there are many opportunities for volunteers to join us in 2022.

 

There is still a great need for support in the communities we work in and your volunteer experience with us will not go to waste. Whether you are teaching in classrooms or helping with local projects, we are dedicated to the development of Santiago Atitlán.

 

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering in Guatemala this year, please contact us at: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com 

Volunteers in Guatemala

Volunteers in Guatemala

#Interview Series: Teacher Totó

 

Welcome Everyone to the first of our #InterviewSeries. In this new section, you will get to know Former Volunteers, their stories, and past experience in One, Two… Tree! and take inspiration for your Future Volunteer Experience, when hopefully things will get back to normal. Enjoy!

 

This time we get to know Totó, a former Volunteer-Coordinator who has volunteered with One, Two ..Tree! for more than a year and who is currently working.

 

First, thank you very much for making this interview possible! As a fresh start, I would like to ask you a bit more about your background.

I am from Spain, from Vigo. I am Thirty-four and I was Thirty-two when I started working with One, Two… Tree! I’ve studied Journalism and worked in Marketing for many years. Then, back in 2018 I decided to quit that and went to Cambodia to volunteer as well. When I was there, I kind of knew about One, Two … Tree!, and Pedro; he told me that they were going to open a new project in Mexico. He already knew I wanted to volunteer with One, Two .. Tree and told me that it would have been great if I wanted to start a new project and collaborate with them. So, I decided to leave and start over again, because I didn’t like my job in Marketing, so I went to Zinacantán.

 

That’s very cool! And how long did you volunteer?

I was two weeks in Guatemala, in Santiago with Gergana and then I was for around a year with One, Two… Tree!

 

The project actually started in Nicaragua, which was the first project, and then it was April 2018 when a revolution started against the Government, and at that point, we were kindly asked to leave. Basically, right now Guatemala is the biggest one and Mexico is restarting again.

 

What was your daily life as a volunteer?

School starts at Nine or Ten, until Three o’clock. Each volunteer has one or two grades that they teach. They go to the school for three hours and then go to another school, which is a boarding school but not the kind of boarding school we are used to. These are proper schools made for kids from families who have poor resources, therefore they pay almost nothing and had numerous kids from 6 to 12/13 who live in a school by themselves. They have dorms, make their beds, etc.

 

And we would teach them another couple of hours and that is basically the beginning. Then we decided those kids from the boarding schools needed more support so we decided to go every afternoon. But it wasn’t always about English classes, it was more about being with them, playing some games, sometimes. We wanted to make those kids loved. It is hard to say but sometimes kids just need a hug and just need to know that they can be loved. Therefore, sometimes, we just had fun with them and that was the nicest thing we did during the second part of the year. In the end, we were also a big group of volunteers, around eight.

 

What I used to say to the volunteers was to try to take your mind out of everything you know and just enjoy it. If you want to do “this” with the kids, just do it. Just be respectful and kids are going to love it!

 

That’s also very rewarding from the human aspect.

I know that for me the important part was to enjoy what I was doing. If they liked an activity, I would repeat it until they stopped liking it.

 

Which was the best memory that you bring with you?

Well, there are many. But I guess at the end of the year when we were going to play with the kids in the afternoon, we had very close bonds with them and by the end of the term, we ended up painting the wall with the One, Two Tree Logo. And also, on that wall, we painted six trees. Those were really good days! But I might say that the best memory I had was during the last days when I had to leave, I was really sad to finish. Because, you know, when you start to connect, and all the volunteers are cool with each other. We all had good ideas. So yes, the last couple of weeks were the best, and also the summer camp that we made which was a lot of work, 4 weeks and 60 kids and our duty on the school. Everything went very well and the kids enjoyed it a lot!

 

Would you say your contribution had a social impact on the community?

Well, I believe the kids understood the meaning of learning English. For the development of the community and learned how to interact and bond with people from Abroad. “To break the walls”: that was one of the most relevant things.

 

I think the biggest impact was the kids learning and being able to make such connections which is really cool. They still don’t realize how important it is for their lives, to know that people from abroad don’t’ come to take advantage of them.

 

How is the Covid-19 impacting the Project at the moment?

I can speak for the Mexican Project. Schools are still closed, so even if we had volunteers, they would not be able to do anything. So I guess that is one thing that affects us, because they do not have this ‘continuous’ of volunteers. We really hope to restore the project as soon as there will be the safety conditions to do it!

 

As the last thing, what would you recommend to Future Volunteers who are willing to start this new Adventure?

Do it! Don’t think about it Twice. You won’r regret it. Just Enjoy the Experience! Time literally flies, so try to get the most of it from the very beginning. Especially if you go there for a month. It is really something you will remember and it is one of the best «job» to do.

 

It is always inspiring to listen to past Volunteers’ Experiences. Totó has certainly made a life experience that will always remember. And with him, also all the kids he had the chance to teach to. We sincerely hope to restore the projects as soon as the Health-Emergency will be over.

 

Thanks again to Totó for his time and we Wish the best of luck to him with his new Projects and Work in Central America!