The Children’s Village
The Project Somos Children’s Village is located in the small community of Chivarabal, just outside of Tecpán, Guatemala.
We are working to break the cycle of poverty so that it doesn’t continue with the next generations.
We believe that a child’s best chance at happiness and success is to be able to stay with his/her own mother whenever possible.
We accept widowed and single mothers with a minimum of three children who have been living in extreme poverty.
The focus of our work is about strengthening families and building capacity so that they can lift themselves out of poverty.
The women are chosen based on their needs and are referred by local community leaders. They live at Project Somos with her children for up two years.
We do everything in our power to facilitate the mamas and children in maintaining their own culture, traditions, clothing and language.
We offer capacity building for the mothers so that they are better equipped to begin their lives again when they leave Project Somos.
We use a holistic approach focusing on; physical health and well-being, intellectual education, spiritual healing and happiness.
The Village will be comprised of a cluster of seven family homes. The first two homes are complete: one of them is home to two families, and two more families will be moving into the second home soon.
Our long-term goal is to serve up to 20 families with a total of 100 children every two years.
We are in the early stages, having just welcomed our first families but our plans for the future are to offer;
- leadership training
- art and music therapy
- english classes
- computer classes
- empowerment programs for girls
- programs that facilitate creative and critical thinking
- access to ongoing tutoring to assist in traditional public schooling
- an environmental program/club such as Roots and Shoots
Shared organic gardens help the mothers and children learn new skills and eat nutritious meals.
The Village has the only playground in the area and is being enjoyed by the local children once as week, as well as the Project Somos children on a daily basis.
The Village has a large Community Hall which has a commercial kitchen, meeting space, huge terraces, four toilets and four showers and is used for gatherings for the mothers and children, as well as rented out to generate income to support the Village.
There will be buildings for art and music workshops, a library and administration space.
As well as being designed to have an inherent beauty and harmony, the Village is being built to be eco-sustainable with alternative electric generation, rain water capture, grey water recycling, and solar energy.
Absolutely no violence is permitted at Project Somos; no spanking, no hitting, no cruelty to animals, etc.
Permaculture is incorporated into all the design features of the Village and partnering organizations. All means to be energy self-sufficient are being utilized.
Organic agriculture is an essential part of the Village and provides food for the families.
The Village is managed in collaboration with local Maya leader, Antolin Gonzales and his wife Nicolassa Chumil along with Founders Greg Kemp and Heather Knox. In the future, the Village will be Guatemalan run. Local Guatemalans are employed for all construction, catering of groups, volunteer management, accounting and therapy for the children.