As October arrives the LATA Foundation team have been reflecting on our achievements and finalising our plans for the rest of the year. Thanks to our amazing donors and volunteers we have been able to support 14 projects in 10 Latin American countries during 2021. And, despite the continuing challenges of the pandemic all the projects have gone ahead as planned.
Our projects partners continue to show incredible versatility, adapting to meet urgent needs of their communities. We have worked with these grassroots organisations to provide much needed PPE for communities and health centres; vital medical, nutritional and educational support; entrepreneurial training for women needing new sources of income; and given financial aid to a wildlife sanctuary struggling to provide for the animals in their care. In addition, thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts of so many of you during our Peru25for25 campaign earlier this year, we will be able to continue supporting 92 Inca Trail Porters and their families with food parcels into the new year.
For the remainder of this year, as well as continuing to work with our projects, our focus will be on ensuring we have the funds to continue with the same level of project support in 2022 and beyond. We are currently looking for volunteers to help with some new fundraising initiatives. Please do contact us at: email@example.com if you would like to join our team!
In the meantime, we are looking forward to attending the virtual LATA EXPO next week as the show’s official charity; and are busy designing this year’s Christmas Gift Certificates which will be on sale soon, so please look out for these!
Jude and the LATA Foundation team
1. Healthcare Projects
Healthcare has been very much in the forefront of everyone’s minds this year, and we are proud to have continued supporting the amazing work of Healing Venezuela and Maya Midwifery International.
Working with Healing Venezuela we provided PPE for health care workers and stipends to supplement 125 junior doctors’ state wages – an attempt to prevent more leaving the country. Healing Venezuela has worked tirelessly to support healthcare provision throughout Venezuela through the political crisis and now the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Guatemala we worked with Maya Midwifery International (MMI), providing PPE, soap, cleaning products and food for the mothers and midwives. MMI have continued to support Mam-speaking women and their babies, often in remote communities, throughout the pandemic.
2. Education and Children’s Projects
The social restrictions resulting from Covid-19 has had a negative effect on children across the world, especially in poorer communities. Education and social development have been particularly affected, so it is a privilege for us to continue supporting the invaluable work of Condor Trust, Abriendo Mentes, Friends of Alalay and ViDançar, and also our new project El Rio Foundation.
Quito-based Condor Trust enable children from low income families to stay on in education. When schools closed Condor ensured that their children continued their learning; providing laptops and internet connections, and offering regular support by phone, catch-up classes for older children, and additional music and English lessons. Currently we support 8 of their students.
Abriendo Mentes, in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, provides supplementary education and social activities for children and young people, and continued to maintain contact and learning opportunities through lockdown. We support the teaching of literacy, IT and English language – Skills that increase the chance of employment in the local tourism industry.
We have worked with Friends of Alalay over many years to support their home and care network for homeless children in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Over the last year we have provided PPE and extra cleaning materials, as well as continuing to fund some of their young people through vocational courses.
ViDançar has taught ballet and dance to hundreds of children in a favela of Rio de Janeiro. Along with Las Iguanas restaurants we have supported them for several years – mainly providing stipends for teachers. Classes continued virtually through the worst of the pandemic; and there were celebrations when several of the young people were accepted by national ballet schools, a fantastic achievement!
Our new project El Rio Foundation is working to improve the level of English in their community which is located close to one of Colombia’s main attractions, Tayrona National Park. English classes for 12 adults and 10 children have started after an initial delay due to local pandemic restrictions. We are supporting them with the expenses of the volunteer teacher and teaching materials.
3. Projects Empowering Women
Many women around the world from poorer neighbourhoods lost their only source of income as the pandemic took hold. We continue to be inspired by the passion with which XtraOrdinary Women and Fundación Calicanto work to empower women, and are delighted to continue supporting women develop the skills needed to grow their own micro-businesses.
Building on the success of their ‘Bootcamps’ for women running micro-businesses in 2020 we supported XtraOrdinary Women in running two more programmes earlier this year – In Masaya, Nicaragua’s craft capital, and Bilwi an area devastated by Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November 2020. We also provided PPE and cleaning products for the micro-businesses.
Over the last year the focus of Fundación Calicanto courses has changed from developing disadvantaged women’s self-esteem and employability skills, to entrepreneurship. We have worked with this fantastic project based in Panama City for several years, supporting modules of the courses.
4. Wildlife Projects
While we know that in some areas wildlife has benefitted from the recent social and travel
restrictions, this is not always the case. Costa Rican wildlife sanctuary Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) is heavily dependent on the income from visitors to finance both the care of the orphaned and injured animals they look after, and their field-leading research. Having previously worked with them on several projects we were pleased to be able to help them feed and care for their animals until visitors recently began to return.
5. Community Projects
Communities reliant on tourism around the world have suffered disproportionately from the detrimental effects of the Covid-19 restrictions. In addition to our health, education, women’s empowerment and wildlife projects, we are pleased to have also assisted The Galapagos Conservation Trust, Inca Trail Porters, Children Change Colombia and Sinal do Vale in responding to needs in their communities.
Travel restrictions and reduced flights to the Galapagos starkly highlighted the dependence of the
islanders on the mainland for food. To promote food security, we supported the Galapagos Conservation Trust’s Urban Family Gardening Project which aims to improve self-sufficiency and mitigate some of the financial hardship from the lack tourists.
Thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts of everyone that took part in our Peru25for25 campaign we have been a major partner in a scheme providing monthly food parcels to 92 Inca Trail Porters and their families. These families’ income has been severely affected by the lack of tourists and the food parcels provided have been a lifeline.
We also supported Children Change Colombia to provide food parcels and PPE for 60 families in Bogota, and Sinal do Vale to provide 36 artisans and their families from Santo Antonio, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with food.