We live in a globalized world, where everything we do affects those around us. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear just how true this is. People all around the world have been forced out of work in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and this shutdown affects the most vulnerable among us in every society. In Guatemala, the situation has been worsened due to the US deporting entire planes full of people infected with COVID-19. It is estimated that at least 20% of all coronavirus cases in Guatemala were directly sent there by the U.S. government.

Even before this crisis, most Guatemalans live day-to-day, and this is no exception for the people of San Andrés Itzapa and Jocotenango. Project Genesis has closed the school, since no groups are allowed to gather, but Ricardo continues to distribute essential food supplies to families in the surrounding villages. This assistance is critical for these communities, as the government of Guatemala has not stepped up in any meaningful way to support the millions of families who live hand-to-mouth, who are now unable to work at all due to the pandemic.

Friends, some of you may already feel this to be true: we are One people. The people of Guatemala, the U.S., and all other countries are united as one human family, inseparable based on race, creed, or religion. Now is the moment to join together and help our brothers and sisters who are in need, not just here in this country where we have at least received some help from our government, but in all parts of the world. The problem is too great to solve all at once; that is why we must start with what we know, and the communities we are already involved with. This is your chance to directly make an impact in the lives of the people who are most vulnerable to this crisis.

This is a trying time for all of us, but if you are able, please consider sending a donation in this time of great need so that Project Genesis can continue its critical work. Without our help, many children will go hungry, resulting in malnutrition that could harm their development and affect them for the rest of their life. No matter how much you can give, it makes a difference, and more importantly helps to keep our global connection alive, affirming that we truly are One Family. 

About 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

Education: 
Afterschool program for kids who are old enough to attend school, providing lessons and homework help, and providing funds to purchase school supplies and uniforms.

Nutrition:
Providing nutritional meals daily to all the children who attend the project, as well as their family members.

Technical Skills:
This is a new program which aims to give the kids skills they can use to earn an income. The auto mechanic program is up and running, teaching the kids how to fix cars and motorcycles.

Food Assistance:
This program is especially important during this COVID-19 crisis. The project delivers food to families in need in the surrounding villages, helping to avoid malnutrition in children which can affect them for their entire lives.

Cooking Classes:
This program is for the mothers of the community, offering them cooking classes in the project's kitchen, where they can learn new skills to be able to sell food on the street or in stores.

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. 

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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