Ingrid Caloj, Psychologist
Originally from Santa Apolonia, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, Ingrid is a happily married woman and mama to one. She graduated as a teacher in a National Institute and worked for 5 years in a school with the intention to gather the resources to expand her studies, this helped her start studying Clinical Psychology, which would give her powerful tools to understand and treat people’s conducts. Due to the lack of economical resources she had to briefly suspend her studies and work in worldwide vision project, training marginalized parents and sons to promote a better quality education.
She graduated in 2016, did her professional practices in several House Homes and worked as a psychological therapist for kids and grown ups in a foundation in Tecpán before she came across the Project in 2017.
Ingrid is in charge of the individual and group therapies between parents and their children and helps with the Somos parenting workshops. These years working in the Project have served her well to appreciate the slow but evident process regarding the much healthier development of each kid. Ingrid enjoys spending her free time reading motivational books where she finds a great understanding towards her own problems and personal situations. She would definitely consider the book “De regreso a Casa” as one of her most favorites.
Rafaela Surec Socop, Primary School Teacher – 1st and 2nd grades
Originally form Tecpán, Rafaela briefly abandoned her early studies when she was not able to pay for her education. A few years later, she returned when she could afford it. To put herself through the teacher degree program, she worked as a babysitter and mother’s help. In 2016 she accepted her first job as a teacher at Project Somos.
She is very aware of the personal and familial situations of the kids, knowing the big and important impact that education provides them not only in an educational level, but individual and familial as well.
Her biggest dream is to open a nursery school one day where she can help more people. She is convinced that Somos is giving her powerful tools to accomplish it.
She really enjoys teaching and sharing her time with family, especially with her nieces and nephews.
Evelyn Sisimit, Cook and Kitchen Teacher
Evelyn is from the local community of Chivarabal. Her mother tragically died one year before knowing about the Project. As the eldest daughter, she was left with the responsibility of helping raise her siblings. Since coming to Somos, her life has changed drastically. Thanks to the work she has discovered a different and more conscious way of being with food of which she feels absolutely proud. In 2016 she arrived at the Project and after a year and a half of being an assistant cook with visiting volunteers, she became the head cook.
She is passionate about cooking new things, working with children, helping teachers and staff and learning from her personal mistakes.
She is currently building her own house with the resources she’s been earning from the Project. This has motivated her to continue striving to grow.
She loves playing soccer in her free time, and her next objective is to learn English so she can be able to communicate with the volunteers and continue developing at a professional level.
Tita Ajcet, Yoga Teacher and great support on different areas within the Project
Originally from Tecpán, Tita is an active woman with a great spirit of participation and compromise.
Single mother of 3: 6 year old twins and an older daughter of 9.
She had to leave her primary studies due to complicated familiar issues. After a greatly complicated and long process of personal and familiar growth she found the opportunity to participate at the Project where she’s been able to develop in such a way that she considers this the most important and wonderful stage of her life.
She found in Yoga a tool for great balance in her life and she teaches the children with the intention of sharing the same satisfaction she’s found for her life. Along with other mamas, she is as well a member of the team that work with the wool filter to create beautiful figures that are later sold in Guatemala, Canada and the US, helping the personal and social economy of the village. She is of great help when it come to organize, clean and cook when the project has new volunteer and group arrivals.
Although without much free time left, she looks the way to be physically active doing exercise and dancing at home.
Erika Ajquiy Noj, Teacher Assistant in Preschool
Born in Chivarrabal, she’s currently studying children teaching in Tecpán on the mornings and helps the Preschool teacher at Somos by the evenings, with the intention to extend her participation in the Project when she finishes her studies.
She really enjoys sharing time with her parents and siblings along with a cup of coffee, a good talk and once in a while a movie with the family.
Trained as an accountant and auditor, Claudia began working with Project Somos as a volunteer translator and bookkeeper in 2011 and now manages our Guatemalan accounting, liaising with Canada. She also coordinates logistics for volunteers coming to Project Somos.
Claudia is the mother of two little daughters.
Marelyne Ramírez, Director of Education
Marelyne is the Director of Education at Project Somos. She grew up in a home full of love with discipline and moral values throughout her life. She is a graduate of the early education program and loves interaction with children.
Marelyne worked as a preschool teacher while completing her degree in psychology and learning disabilities. She has worked in different institutions helping children with eating disorders, developmental disabilities, hearing and children with autism. She has also helped children and adolescents with emotional problems and before joining Project Somos, she worked as a school counselor at a private school in Tecpan.
Marelyne is mama to one daughter and a son. She likes walking, reading, watching movies with her family, reading aloud to her kids and listening to music.
Sara Hoshooley – Director of Development
Sara joins Project Somos after more than 10 years as a fundraiser within Canadian and international organizations. Her passion for fundraising began at a small community development organization in Belize in 2009, and she has been involved with leading fundraising strategies for many different nonprofit organizations ever since.
Sara lives with her partner and their cat in Vancouver, BC and loves to learn about other cultures whether through travel, food, art, music or meeting new people. Sara is very excited to be part of the Project Somos team and hopes to be able to visit the project as soon as possible. You can contact Sara directly by email: Sara@projectosomos.org
Kate Semrau – Communications Coordinator
Kate has been involved with Project Somos for many years as a volunteer, and in the last two years has taken on the role of Communications Coordinator. Kate has been in the communications field for over 10 years, working with both non-profit organizations and small businesses. She also does some photography professionally.
Kate lives in Canmore, AB with her partner Simon and their 3-year-old son Silas. She loves outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and is also an avid yogi. Kate is excited to continue her work with Somos, and to hopefully travel their again in the future to volunteer on-site.
The Project Somos workers are incredible. They are a dedicated team that has built 13 buildings in the past eight years. All of the team lives in the local community or the nearby town of Tecpán and all have families that they support. They are hard working, resilient, open to new ideas and construction techniques. They have become experts in sustainable building and organic farming in Guatemala and take great pride in their work. Project Somos is lucky to have them working with us.
Left to right: Manolo, Miguel and Francisco.