Globally, nearly three billion people use polluting, inefficient stoves or open fires to cook their food.
In Guatemala, more than half of families rely on open fires to cook. This causes the smoke to fill their homes and results in severe health problems.
Approximately, one ton of firewood per-person per-year is used for cooking and heat. Collecting that much firewood takes time and energy or costs money.
The need for firewood as fuel contributes to deforestation. Guatemala loses up to 2,460 hectares of tree cover annually. As a result, deforestation brings soil erosion, loss of animal habitat, and fewer oxygen-producing trees.
Due to the high rate of consumption, forests and trees become increasingly scarce, and villagers must travel even further to find wood.
DWC’s LIGHT UP GUATEMALA program installs eco-stoves in homes to help stop all the harmful impacts of cooking fires. A vented stove is more environmentally friendly and can prevent a lifetime of health problems, but not everyone can afford one.
To learn amore about the benefits of a Eco Stove, Click here
You’ll work with Open Windows Foundation in San Miguel Duenas, an agricultural community of about 12,000 people who live 15 kilometres from the tourist city of Antigua. Despite being located so close to the tourism industry, many San Miguel families barely get by. Open Windows is a dynamic, non-profit children’s learning centre that provides 2,600 kids with services and programs . This dynamic foundation also as administers an eco-stove program in their neighborhood and surrounding low-income communities.
Each day, you will work alongside like mined volunteers traveling in teams installing eco-stoves into homes in need around the community. Each stove, on average, takes a couple of hours to install. By then end of the week, you will feel the satisfaction of directly impacting the lives of all the homes you visit in the San Miguel Duenas neighborhood.
You can expect a warm and humid climate during your stay in Guatemala. It’s an excellent time to visit with temperatures averaging between 20°C to 30°C (70°F to 80°F) making it comfortable for indoor or outdoor pursuits.
There is plenty to see and do. Antigua, where our volunteers stay, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Spanish Baroque style of architecture and church ruins. The region was hit by several earthquakes in the 1700s (hence the historic ruins). Not to worry, though, there haven’t been any quakes of note in the past couple of hundred years or so.
Past teams have visited a chocolate maker, open markets, monuments, fountains, plant nurseries and even volcanoes. Some have gone for wilderness hikes or ziplining. There are lots of options for your free time.
How much does it cost?
The cost of this trip is displayed at the top of the page. This cost includes accommodations, meals, in-country transport, program costs, and a donation to our host partner in their respective country. It does not include airfare. The entire trip is 100% tax deductible. A $1000 non refundable deposit ($600 for trips prior to 2024) is due once the trip is confirmed which is then credited towards your trip cost. Flight costs vary and can either be booked yourself or through our recommended travel agent to receive a tax deductible receipt. Your trip cost is due in its entirety 45 days prior to departure. If your flight is booked through our recommended travel agent, your flight cost is due within 10 days. Trip costs may be adjusted if flight or accommodation upgrades are requested or if flight deviations are required. Select trips may be subject to additional cultural activity fees. US volunteers may be subject to administrative fees/exchange rate adjustments.
Are accommodations included and what are they like?
DWC books your accommodations for you, and it is included in your Trip Cost! Your team will stay at a local hotel that is comfortable and clean. Rooms are booked as shared double occupancy. You may upgrade to a private room for an additional cost, where possible. We will do our best to accommodate adjustments
Are meals provided and can dietary restrictions be accommodated?
All meals are included in your trip cost. Some meals will be at the hotel, while others at local restaurants. The food is prepared hygienically, and dishes range from local to standard western fare. Volunteers submit a health form to DWC and all requests for dietary restrictions will be provided to the Team Leader, hotel, and host partner, to be accommodated wherever possible. We want you to be as comfortable as possible! Your Trip Cost does not include tips, alcohol, or snacks.
Can I add personal travel onto this trip?
Absolutely! We want you to have the best travel experience possible. If you choose to add personal travel onto the front or back end of your trip, you are welcome to book your own accommodation and transportation arrangements for early arrivals or late departures, however you are required to arrive in time to fully participate in the volunteer experience with your team. Personal travel would not be covered in your tax-deductible receipt.
Can my family come on the trip with me?
The trip cost listed is a per person rate. Family members can participate in the trip as part of the volunteer team by paying a separate trip cost. Children 12-17 wishing to participate in a volunteer trip require a parent/guardian with them.
What is the minimum age requirement to volunteer?
Children under 12 are unable to participate in our program due to the nature of the volunteer work involved. Children 12-17 wishing to participate in a volunteer trip require a parent/guardian with them.
Do I need construction experience and how much will we work?
You don’t need special skills or training to be able to help. We hire local skilled labourers who will give training onsite for construction and team leaders. You will work at your own pace, within your own comfort level, five days a week from about 8AM to 4PM. Your evenings and weekends are free for cultural activities and relaxing.
What is the work site like and what is the intensity of the labour?
There is a building manager and translator on site. Tasks on the work site vary and you will only be asked to do what you are comfortable with and within your physical abilities. There is no pressure!
Why should I volunteer?
Support sustainable change with us. Learn about the world and yourself, lend a hand and build hope. Every bit of time spent on a DWC project is helping a person, a family, or a community. You’ll know that your contribution will make someone’s life better. DWC matches teams of volunteers and resources with people and organizations in developing nations to alleviate poverty and inspire hope and your efforts do have impact. The experience is enhanced by working as a team. Simply put, there is joy and self-discovery that comes with giving to others. And you’ll have fun doing it, too.
Are DWC trips religious or political in nature?
DWC has no religious or political affiliations.
Each trip is coordinated by DWC with the help of a Team Leader, who has travelled with DWC previously and is First Aid Certified. Your Team Leader will liaise with DWC and ensure all your questions are answered. Your Team Leader will handle all team finances through the trip and travel with you to ensure the best possible travel and volunteer experience for their team! They also facilitate fun, cultural experiences where possible, ensuring group cohesion. See your Team Leader Biography here:
Grampa Doug was born in 1908. Doug’s first experience leading a DWC trip was the Kilimanjaro Challenge where he almost died. Little Dougy has decided to give it another go and lead a Light Up Guatemala team.
On a more serious note, Doug has been everywhere there is to go with DWC, from building homes in the jungles of Cambodia, to improving schools in the barrios of Peru, to building medical clinics on the plains of East Africa.
Doug is passionate about the mission of DWC and the size of his heart is only matched by his generosity, time and service.
When not volunteering he is the founder and president of DW Builders, a custom construction company in Kamloops, BC.
Carbon offsets are used to compensate for the greenhouse gasses that we create through certain activities, such as flying. For every tonne of carbon released into the atmosphere, an ‘offset’ is a carefully designed project that absorbs or stores the equivalent CO2 emissions. You can choose to offset your own flight, your whole family’s, or do this as a gift for a friend.Offset Your Carbon Footprint