Ingrid Caloj, Psychologist
Originally from Santa Apolonia, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, she is a happily married woman and mama to be. 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 momentarily suspend her studies and work in worldwide vision project, training marginalized parents and sons to promote a better quality education.
She finally graduated in 2016, did her professional practices in several House Homes and worked as a psychological therapist for kids and grown ups on a foundation in Tecpán before she came across the Project in 2017.
She is in charge of the individual and group therapies between parents and their children and occasionally organices 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.
She 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.
Delmy Sisimit, Preschool teacher – Kinder & Pre-kinder
Originally from San José Poaquil, Guatemala, she comes from a humble and christian family. She’s done her basic studies at the Evangelic School and it wasn’t until 2010 that she went out of town to study a degree. Her first job was as a municipal teacher in a little village in Santa Apolonia, Chimlatenango, where the students where indigenous kids with kaqchikel as their mother tongue, which made the work a little but interesting process. The next year she worked selling teaching materials to other school’s teachers until in 2014 she continued her profession as a kids teacher. Her outstanding work gave her the adequate opportunities to meet the Project and, with the unconditional support of her family, she got the work in Somos.
The process of adaptation to this new system and the particular and sometimes aggressive conditions of the kids has been most of the times really complicated, but the satisfactory results in the education have given her a great motivation to keep changing lives.
Apart from her teaching duties, on Saturdays she studies Clinical Psychology always looking for a better future.
Rafaela Surec Socop, Primary School Teacher – 1st and 2nd grades
Originally form Tecpán, she left momentarily her early studies not being able to pay for her education until she could afford it few years later. She worked as a baby sitter and along with her mother’s help she could enroll on her Teacher Degree until graduation. In 2016 she found at Somos her first job as a teacher, and seeing in the system a very effective educational process, she projects herself towards many years of teaching within the Project.
She is very aware of the personal and familiar situation of the kids, knowing the big and important impact that her education provides them not only in an educational level, but individual and familiar as well.
Her biggest dream is to open a nursery one day where she can help more people and is convinced that Somos is giving her powerful tools to accomplish it.
She really enjoys teaching and sharing her time with family, specially with her nieces and nephews.
Evelyn Sisimit, Cook and Kitchen Teacher
Born in Chivarrabal, her mother died one year before knowing about the Project. The initial lack of resources made her personal work a long and complicated path, but with great support of her family she was able to come across Somos and her life changed drastically. Thanks to the work she has discovered a different and more conscious way of treating the food of which she feels absolutely proud. In 2016 she arrived at the Project and after one year and a half assisting volunteers in the kitchen she then became the head of the area, making her absolutely happy to be able to pass this knowledge to the children.
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 admirably earning within the Project, which helps her greatly to continue striving to grow.
She loves playing soccer on 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.
Yanira Socop Ajic, Primary School Teacher – 3rd-6th grades
Born in Tecpán she graduated as a Preschool teacher in 2011, and In 2016 from the Legal and Social Sciences’s degree.
She started her professional life in 2012 as a Preschool teacher in a little school with barely 15 kids between ages 4 and 6. After five years of work and two years of practices, in mid 2019 she became part of the Somos team.
Passionate about books, she loves reading about Guatemalan history and mainly issues related with law with the intention of strengthening her knowledge acquired at school.
She has a 4 year old son named Jhofra Donaly with whom she loves spending as much time as possible.
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.
Corina joined Project Somos as Global Development Manager in May 2019 after volunteering there earlier that year. Corina fell in love with Somos and is honored to contribute to its mission.
Corina is fascinated by human behavior and what it takes to overcome limiting beliefs in order to live joyfully. She has lived and worked in several European countries and recently worked as a corporate behavioral change coach; prior to that she lead sales teams as the manager of a start-up. Corina and her husband Julien set off on a world travel in 2018. Their mission is to learn how the world needs their skills by being of service.
Corina’s interests come from her passion for people; she loves reading, speaks 4 languages, enjoys discovering new places and dishes, and is really into yoga. She believes that awareness of our shared humanity is key in making our world a fairer place.
After volunteering at Project Somos with his wife, Julien gladly embraced the role of Global Development Manager in May 2019.
Julien quickly adapts to any kind of environment and likes to bring added value where he can. Having worked in several industries and multinational companies, he’s able to grasp fundamentals, processes and dynamics, as well as to understand how a structure and its people work. He is thrilled to be part of Project Somos and apply these skills to contribute to its mission.
The mission of Project Somos is noble and incorporates values that Julien fully shares. He also believes that collaborative models combined with true understanding between the parties opens doors for opportunities that can benefit all. Julien will leverage his experience within complex organizations and his broad network to identify possible collaborations and transform ideas into concrete actions.
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.
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.