What is Project Genesis?


  • Registered nonprofit located outside Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
  • Founded by Ricardo Armas, a Guatemalan-born writer who fell in love with this forgotten community, and has dedicated his life to helping raise these kids out of the cycle of poverty. 
  • Genesis serves over 100 kids aged 3-15, providing them with educational support and health services. There are over 400 children in the surrounding community that need the project's services.
  • In Guatemala, the chronic malnutrition rate for children is almost 50% – the fourth highest in the world. Project Genesis provides the kids with at least one nutritious meal every day. It also provides vitamin supplements and regularly organizes the distribution of vegetables to the local community.
  • Many of the kids can't get an education either because their family cannot afford the supplies, or because of the danger of rape or assault along the 5-mile walk to the nearest school. This means that Project Genesis is their sole source of education.
  • When funds are available, Project Genesis sets up a scholarship fund to buy the kids' school supplies so that they can all attend school in the mornings, before coming to the project.
  • At the project, classes are taught by Ricardo and a rotating team of international volunteers who create basic lessons and help the older kids with their homework.
  • Lesson topics include English, Math, Science, Geography, Art, Theater, and reading. 

Programs:

  • Newborns-5 years old : To ensure a healthy start in life.
  • 6-11 years old: To offer quality basic education and help provide the resources to complete schoolwork.
  • 12-15 years old: To create an environment for adolescents to promote their development.
  • Parents: To educate them on important issues that can improve their lives.


The Impact


Project Genesis has already proven itself to be a major force for good in this community. Ricardo's heart is full of love for these children, and he will stop at nothing to keep this dream alive- including selling his bed, car, and landing himself thousands of dollars in debt. For this reason, it is imperative that we help keep the project going.


Project Genesis...

  • provides the kids with hope for the future and shows them the opportunities ahead of them.
  • encourages locals to get involved in their community, and teaches them that they can make a difference.
  • directly improves the health of the children through nutritional and medical programs.
  • provides a community gathering and social meeting space.
  • instills positive values such as cooperation, sharing, and integrity.
  • directly improves the environment in which the children live through recycling programs and waste removal.
  • supports the development of arts and culture in a community that cannot otherwise afford the luxury of education in these areas.



Long-Term Goal

  • Project Genesis aims to build a permanent school in the community.
  • This will be a multi-purpose space designed with classrooms, a community gathering room, and soup kitchen.
  • The school will be built using eco-blocks technology as a way to lower building costs and also to teach the community about the importance of recycling.
  • The school will have 2 full-time teachers, as well as part-time teachers in music, theater, and art. There will also be full-time management staff to assist Ricardo in running the NGO.

Our Story

The project was established by Ricardo Armas in 2012. Ricardo was born and raised just outside of Antigua, Guatemala. Project Genesis takes its namesake from Ricardo's daughter, Génesis (pronounced: HEN-esis), whom he named to reflect the fact that her birth completely changed his life, giving him a new beginning. Ricardo is an author with one book published and two more books written, but not yet published.

In July of 2012 Ricardo visited the town of San Andres Itzapa, a rural community about an hour outside of Antigua, with his wife who had inherited property there. Arriving without any intention of anything more than a short visit, Ricardo left with a strong desire to help this community. He saw children without the opportunity to receive an education, and he recognized the long term effects on these families living in the cycle of poverty. He began visiting the community on weekends, taking his daughter with him so that he could teach her from the very beginning the importance of helping others. He gathered the children of the community together in an open field to teach them basic education, play games and give something positive to do as a community. When Ricardo's employer heard about what he was doing on the weekends, she told him he had to stop because the poor would bring bad luck to the company. Rather than quit what he was doing with the children, Ricardo quit his job and began coming to work with the kids every day. He has been running Project Genesis full-time for almost two years, with no salary or stipend. Ricardo's love for this project has put him in debt, he's sold his car, his bed, and is struggling to provide for his family let alone for these wonderful children.

What We Need

  • A plot of land: $4,600
  • Building costs for permanent 4-classroom school: $26,000 (based on Bottle Schools technology)
  • Salary for director: $1000/month
  • Salary for 2 full-time teachers: $1000/month
  • Daily meal (full lunch) for the children (1 year): $9,230
  • Daily snack for the children (1 year): $1,385
  • Medical costs for 1 year (on-call doctor, medicines): $4,560
  • School supplies and materials (1 year): $2,310
  • Maintenance and fuel for vehicle (1 year): $1000
  • Cooking gas (propane) for 1 year: $180

Other Ways You Can Help

If you are unable to contribute financially, we ask that you simply spread the word about our project! Please use the share tools at the top of the page, or share our campaign video. Project Genesis is a strong organization, but it needs your help to reach its full potential. Thank you for your support!

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