At Revealed Travel, we strongly believe in providing support and help for social projects in the regions where we work.
In Latin America we are actively involved with the work of the LATA Foundation, a charity set up by the Latin America Travel Association to support social and environmental projects throughout the region.
These projects are helping to transform lives, providing clean water, dental or medical support and practical training to provide people with new skills in Mexico, Central and South America.
Since the LATA Foundation was formed in 2007, the charity has donated over £275,000 to a wide range of projects throughout Latin America.
The LATA Foundation has identified 9 core social and environmental projects to support in 2019 whilst continuing to provide help to some on-going partners in Central and South America.
In Panama the LATA Foundation is providing disadvantaged women with new skills and job opportunities in conjunction with Fundacion Calicanto and hotels.
The average age of the women is 30 and she has three children, often with different fathers. Most have not completed their secondary education, live in poverty and 83% are from broken homes. 40% are victims of domestic violence.
This project has a great track record.
In 2018 the Calicanto Foundation set up a restaurant in the old quarter providing additional opportunities for the women.
This is a conservation project to protect just under 100 square miles of tropical dry forest. Tropical dry forest is the most endangered type of forest in Panama consisting of beaches, mangroves, dunes and marshes. The mangroves are the reproductive sites of many species of fish. Dunes are natural barriers to erosion, beaches are important for turtles to come ashore and lay their eggs and the marshes provide the important habitat, breeding and feeding grounds for hundreds of species of birds as well as the endangered Azuero Spider Monkey.
In the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica state education amounts to just 3 hours of tuition on 85 days each year, a paltry total of just 255 hours. The LATA Foundation is supporting a dedicated Youth Development programme in conjunction with Abriendo Mentes which is delivering basic education, English classes and computer skills to 290 children in two villages.
Abriendo Mentes has developed long lasting partnerships with six local hotels and local tour operators in Potrero and Brasilito who provide support, funding, donations of resources, volunteers and tutors. Hopefully this will also lead to jobs for some of the current youth program participants. They are actively seeking more partners for this program.
If you are travelling to Playa Potrero or Playa Brasilito in Guanacaste, Abriendo Mentes would be grateful for donations of school and art supplies such as pencils, markers, crayons, glue sticks, lined paper, pens, rulers and composition-size notebooks.
Friends of Alalay directly supports the Alalay Foundation, which was started in the early 1990’s by a 19 year-old Bolivian student who passed street children every day on her way to university and was determined to do something to help.
Alalay rescues these kids from the streets and offers them a loving environment living together in family cabins. Alalay also feeds, clothes and educates the children and encourages them in their future working lives.
Since it was started, the Alalay Foundation has helped over 10,000 kids and adolescents and works with over 1,000 children annually, in the cities of La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. It currently has 400 children living in various centres, and provides food, health care, clothing, education, social work, spiritual, psychological and legal help, and technical training for them. Most importantly, it provides something they’ve often never had – a home and a family.
The LATA Foundation has previously worked with Friends of Alalay to set up a medical unit at their base outside Santa Cruz, a quail farm and refurbishment of buildings.
The LATA Foundation is working with the Galapagos Conservation Trust on an ambitious 5-year project to clean up the islands, campaign for the responsible disposal of waste and to reduce the use of plastic, in particular single-use bags, bottles, straws and cups and encourage the move towards sustainable packaging.
A marine biologist currently studying for a PhD in plastics who was there in June 2018 informed us that the project is very well thought through, bringing together all the right specialists and working effectively with the Galapagos National Park authorities, the local community, fishing and tourism industries. It is hoped that if the campaign is successful in the Galapagos Islands it can be used as a template for other islands across the world.
Further reading: Science to Solutions
Please see also this ITV News Report:
The LATA Foundation is helping to provide extra-curricular ballet, drama, football and audio-visual activities and classes to over 400 children and teenagers in one of the city’s notorious slums. This provides them with a safe place to go and, of course, encourages teamwork and discipline. Participation in classes and activities is subject to the pupils’ own attendance in mainstream education.
The LATA Foundation is pleased to be funding literacy lessons and English classes in an after-schools project in Oropesa and surrounding villages just outside Cuzco. 60 children are benefitting this year, ranging in age from 4 to 14.
The Buena Vida Foundation is an Argentine NGO that supports rural local communities to develop sustainable tourism initiatives and help generate local employment in the North-West of the country. In recent years the LATA Foundation has helped to set up a visitor centre and created bike tours (providing much needed jobs for local Guarani people). The LATA Foundation is pleased to support their community-based tourism projects.
In Ecuador, 34% of children do not complete their education, usually because their families can’t afford uniforms, books or transport – none of which are provided by the state – and sometimes because they are under pressure to get a job to support their families. The LATA Foundation is supporting a small educational project run by the Condor Trust with the provision of uniforms, books and school materials for secondary school pupils who are keen to learn but who are in danger of dropping out. Some have now gone on to graduate from higher education and are flourishing in professional jobs and thus breaking the familiar cycle of poverty.
”This project gave me the chance to finish school,” said Carolina, “and is now supporting me through University. It has given me and my whole family the hope of a much better future.”
The Condor Trust has a very good track record of working with local schools to carefully identify boys and girls that are at risk.
The LATA Foundation supports “Sonrisa” dental clinics providing free dental care to disadvantaged children and youngsters in run down slums of Buenos Aires. The project is run by Todos Juntos, a charity registered both in the UK and in Argentina. Sonrisa means ‘smile’.
In 2010, 1500 children visited the clinics and over 11,000 treatments were administered. Today the Sonrisa clinics are providing around 35,000 free treatments to some 7,000 disadvantaged children every year. Children sometimes walk for miles to come to the clinics.
If you can contribute towards the important work of Todos Juntos we’d be very grateful. A donation of £25 will help to put a smile on a child’s face.
The LATA Foundation has already funded a successful crop diversification project for two rural communities in Western Nicaragua.
In 2018 the LATA Foundation contributed towards improvements on the 2km mountain road to improve access to enable 500 people receive primary health care, make it easier for children to get to school and for farmers to take produce to markets to sell goods.
A further donation from the Oxted One World Group in October 2018 has facilitated the construction of an extension to the road to reach another village of 250 people.
The LATA Foundation is run entirely by volunteers, most of whom have a background in the travel industry. As LATA covers bank fees and administration charges, pays for any printing and publicity materials, it means that all donations go directly to projects and are not swallowed up by overheads. Projects themselves are carefully vetted, assessed and closely monitored to ensure that funds go where they are needed most.
Amongst the Latin America Revealed team are people actively involved with the LATA Foundation. Katie Aston has been on the projects team for a number of years. David Gilmour was amongst the founder members of the Latin America Travel Association, was chairman of the LATA Foundation for 5 years and on the projects team for 7 years. He continues to give fundraising talks as an active donor to the organisation. He is also an Ambassador for the Todos Juntos Children’s Trustproviding free dental care to disadvantaged children in Argentina, which receives some support from the LATA Foundation.
How You Can Help
Please visit the LATA Foundation to find out more about these projects and to learn how the travel industry is working together to provide support.
If you would like to make your own donation to the LATA Foundation, please follow the links from their website (or below).
On some tailor-made itineraries (e.g. Brazil, Guatemala and Costa Rica) it may be possible to visit a particular project.