“Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.”
Who We Are
Seeds of Help Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization that provides grassroots-level assistance to improve the lives of people in Guatemala through:
• educational programs and opportunities for women and children
• construction projects for families, schools and communities
Currently, Seeds of Help Foundation uses its resources to serve 12 remote communities in the department (administrative division) of Huehuetenango, located in the western highlands of Guatemala where families survive by subsistence farming.
We believe in providing the “seeds of help” necessary to break the cycle of poverty and foster progress in these rural communities. These “seeds of help” are offered in the form of the following:
Educational programs and opportunities
Children in these rural communities often face numerous barriers to stay in school. It’s not uncommon for them to drop out before grade six in order to work or simply because they don’t recognize the benefit of education. Oftentimes, girls aren’t encouraged to attend school due to gender inequality. In effort to implement change in these matters, we created a comprehensive preschool program designed to motivate and teach youth and their parents about the importance of educational attainment for boys and girls. In addition, we work with higher grades by offering special classes and programs, materials, encouragement, and support in the form of scholarships for students to continue their education at a technical school.
Women – the central-binding force of the family unit – possess the greatest potential to make positive changes for future generations. Through our women’s groups—custom-designed development programs— we teach about family planning, health and nutrition, medicinal herbs; hold cooking classes to introduce alternative cooking methods and recipes; and help in coordinating school development and community organization. Following each session, we encourage these women to return to their communities and share what they’ve learned with others.
When funding is available, we also undertake construction projects for local families, communities and schools. We only use locally available materials and techniques to teach the recipients how to construct the project themselves. This practice allows them to maintain the project and enables them to replicate the project for family, neighbors and other communities. These construction projects include the building of the appropriate technology showers, the appropriate technology stoves, small ovens, water tanks, irrigation tanks, latrines and water pumps.
The story behind how Seeds began
In 1998, Walter Able graduated from Purdue University with a degree in anthropology. He sought after a role where he could build upon his anthropological studies while utilizing his extensive knowledge of history and agriculture. He turned to the U.S. Peace Corps, which offered him the opportunity to combine these skills and help others in what was then an unfamiliar place: Guatemala.
For the next two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, Walter lived in the western Guatemalan highlands and oversaw a program focusing on integrated pest management – organic agriculture and pest control – in a village tucked away high up in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes. From working with rural electrification to the building of greenhouses for locals to grow a new variety of foods year-round, Walter became familiar with the needs of these small, remote communities.
In 2000 when his two-year term with the Peace Corps came to an end, Walter devised a plan to continue helping this area progress long after his departure. It was then that the Seeds of Help Foundation was created.
The work of Seeds of Help is made possible through the efforts and dedication of our Guatemalan staff and volunteers from around the world:
- Brenda Velasquez Del Cid – Director of Operations in Guatemala & Educator
- Roberto Rodriquez Ramos – Guatemalan Construction & Agriculture Supervisor
- Cecebel Velasquez Del Cid – Preschool Teacher
- Irma Consuelo Cobon de Castillo – Women’s Group Promoter (Instructor)
Peace Corps – Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) work with Seeds of Help to gain hands-on experience and further promote our mission. All PCVs are U.S. citizens. For more information on the Peace Corps organization, visit http://www.peacecorps.gov/
Volunteers – Since its inception, Seeds of Help Foundation has had numerous volunteers from countries around the globe that provide valuable aid to our mission.