We are two wide eyed sisters/wanderers who have been traveling since we were old enough to get permission to board planes alone. Curious travelers with insatiable appetites for adventure, we’re excited by learning about new places, new people, new cultures, and new things. The vibrancy and fortitude of rural Latin American communities inspires us, but so many of these areas lack access to basic human necessities. That’s why we started The Latitude Project.
The Latitude Project is rooted in the notion that we don’t need to give up the adventures of our own lives in order to create positive change in the lives of other people. We want to empower communities in impoverished areas of Latin America by providing the means for people to develop, build, and maintain basic human necessities: clean water systems, educational facilities, and safe, comfortable housing. We do this while transparently portraying the whole picture for everyone to see.
We have been involved in international development for a number of years, working for existing charities and traveling to oversee international volunteer initiatives. We have worked with such organizations as the UN Association of Canada, The Nicaragua Project, Pura Vida Foundation, and Pure Water for the World. Curiosity and wonder has led us throughout Mexico, Central America, Asia, and Europe. Through these hands-on experiences we have come to realize the immense importance of transparency, reciprocity, and dignity in working with international communities in need.
The whole project rests on a foundation of a broader definition of “development,” where local customs, cultures and communities dictate what they think is necessary, not us.
We offer people the opportunity to be the agents of their own change by initiating health, education, and sanitation projects that are locally supported and sustained, because we have a deep-seated belief that grassroots organizations – when founded on the right principles – can create a ripple effect of compassion, change, and freedom.
By introducing projects based on places we explore and people we meet, we ensure that what we are doing is geographically and culturally sustainable, effective, and appropriate. We exchange information in impoverished areas to find out from locals what is lacking in their communities and how we can help improve their standard of living. We work with people, not for people.
We partner with communities and do what we can to help. On Christmas day, with rusty Spanish and dusty boots, we’re boarding a plane to Nicaragua. In a project we’re calling Raisin’ the Roof, we’re heading into rural communities in the Nicaraguan province of Rivas, where people have expressed an urgent need for supplies to fix dilapidated roofs.
This winter (2012/13) The Latitude Project will be traveling to diverse villages to address these issues, bringing home with us not only awareness but the adventures and friendships that flourish out of an experience from which we’ll gain more than we’ll give… Check out our partner series “Any Which Way” to come along for the ride!
But you know what we need? Help from you. All this takes funding, and you can help us with it.
The Latitude Project is committed to having zero overhead costs. All of us here in The Latitude Family are volunteers. That means all the hours we spend working in Canada and abroad are done for free. You may wonder how we support ourselves? We work other full time jobs and dedicate our free time, energy, and finances to Latitude. In the past, flights have been paid for out of our pockets. With that said, Latitude is gaining momentum and needs your help. Our small and committed staff continue to cover the costs of their own accommodation, food, and all other expenses. Your support can alleviate some of the financial strains of getting to Latin America to complete these initiatives.
While most organizations include the cost of travel in their administrative fees, Latitude is determined not to follow suit. We value every penny that our generous partners contribute to our initiatives and are committed to transparently disburse these donations where they are needed most.
There are a couple of easy ways you can help us out: