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.
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 so they have more options and independence in their lives.
You can expect a warm and humid climate during your stay in Guatemala; it’s an excellent time to visit as it is the dry season. Temperatures average around 20°C making it comfortable for indoor or outdoor pursuits.
There’s lots to see and do. Antigua, where our volunteers stay in a hotel, 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.
Learn more about the Guatemala »
Do I need construction experience and how much will we work?
You don’t need any special skills or training. We hire local skilled labourers who will give training onsite for construction and team leaders. You will work at your own pace five days a week from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Your evenings and weekends are free for cultural activities and relaxing.
What are meals and accommodations like?
The team will stay at a local hotel that is comfortable and clean. The food is prepared hygienically and dishes range from local to standard Western fare.
How much does it cost?
The cost of each trip varies for each country, and the approximate cost of this trip is displayed at the top of the page. All costs will be finalized closer to the departure date. This cost is the in-country cost, including 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 program and flight costs are 100% tax deductible when paid through DWC.
Why should I volunteer?
Volunteer trips take you to places you otherwise might never go, to do things you otherwise might never do and to meet people you might never otherwise meet. You’ll make a difference in others’ lives and they will make a difference in yours. Simply put, there is joy and self-discovery that comes with giving to others. And you’ll have fun doing it, too.
Team leaders are essential on our volunteer trips overseas. While they themselves are volunteers, they are also experienced travelers and who are willing to take on more commitment and responsibility.
We choose leaders who are knowledgeable about travelling in developing countries because they must understand the conditions they are leading people through. Additionally, we choose leaders who can be called upon in an emergency (they are required to have first aid training) and who want to make sure their team has the best experience possible.