Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions we are often asked, along with our answers to them. Please feel free to ask us some more!
Where is the Village located?
In December 2010 a beautiful property was purchased near Tecpán, Guatemala. It is 145 acres with a large level area for building and agriculture. At 7000 feet (2300 M) the land is 1.5 hours from Guatemala City, Antigua and Lake Atitlan. The construction of the Village began in May 2011 and will expand over four years.
Why do you need 145 acres?
Sustainability and social enterprise are focuses for the Children’s Village. The Village has also partnered with Ethical Bean Coffee Company which intends to build a coffee roasting facility on the property which will help financially support the Children’s Village. This acreage allows the possibility of a variety of agricultural opportunities for Village use and commercial production for financial sustainability.
Isn’t Guatemala dangerous?
Yes, it ranks as one of the most dangerous countries in the hemisphere. Unfortunately after the 35 year civil war, the judicial system never recovered, so it has become a country of impunity. There are efforts to revive the judicial system and root out corruption which is showing some signs of progress. Most of the violence is gang related, centered in Guatemala City.
How are you going to protect the children & the Village?
The Village will be secured with a perimeter wall, which is historically traditional throughout the Spanish colonial world. There will be security “hosts” that welcome anyone that arrive at the main entrance to the village. Children will be accompanied by Village mothers or adults when travelling to the nearby city or outside of the Village. We will also be creating relationships with the nearby villages in order to form a rural “block watch”.
How are you going to deal with religion in the village?
A main focus of the education of the children will be cultivating virtues such as compassion, understanding, forgiveness, patience, etc. Guatemala is a Christian country. The mothers will be able to practice their religious tradition with their foster children and this will provide a basis for their spiritual education. The acceptance of an applicant for a foster mother and the training of the mothers will address religious practice in the Village and the spiritual upbringing of the children in their care.
How will you deal with accountability? Liability? Transparency?
We will deal with accountability with transparency. We encourage questions concerning our vision, goals, activities, and procedures from the public and supporters. Compassion Fruit Society is a Canadian registered charity and financial and governance information is publicly available. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors with expertise offered by an Advisory Board. As with any business or other organization liability is managed proactively by close attention to all of our activities and personnel. We also carry comprehensive liability insurance.
What makes this project different?
Project Somos has a unique approach to providing opportunities to the children of Guatemala. It utilizes a synergistic approach, using social, psychological, educational, artistic and vocational tools to encourage the healthy development of children. It encourages the development of intelligence and compassion – head and heart. This approach will allow a child to mature into a balanced and functioning adult participating in Guatemalan society.
This Project also aims to be ecologically and financially sustainable. Small businesses (Social Enterprises) will be established and money earned will go back into supporting the Village so that long term, it will not be dependent on donations and grants.
Why is the Project going to cost so much?
When you look at the overall picture you will see that our goal is to create long-term sustainability through agriculture, small businesses and alternative energy. Although upfront costs are high, the cost to maintain the Village will be significantly lower than other projects without the infrastructure we are putting in place.
Can I get a tax receipt for my donation?
Yes you can! In June 2009, CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) granted Compassion Fruit Society charitable status which enables us to issue tax receipts. We also have a partnership with an American Non-Profit Organization which can issue USA charitable receipts on our behalf. Please visit our Donate Page to make a donation. Thank you!
Why not partner with existing organization?
Even though there are many diverse projects working with children on the ground in Guatemala, Project Somos was initiated to address all the triad challenges of health, education, and employment in one comprehensive project. We are open to working closely with other like-minded organizations.
Isn’t there a big need locally in Canada and the USA?
Yes, and you can spin a the globe, close your eyes, put your finger anywhere, and it is very likely wherever your finger lands there will be a pressing need for the welfare of children living in poverty. The social situation in Guatemala is much more desperate than in Canada and there is no social net to assist those living in poverty. The reality of the world today is that Guatemala is in our neighbourhood and the need there is immense.