Alumni & Friends - Ways to get involved and give back

Chantel in Guatemala

I can remember very clearly about 4 and a half years ago looking around for post-secondary programs to apply to not knowing exactly what I should dedicate the next years of my life to (although I had a vague I idea). I knew I was interested in taking classes where I would learn about world issues, global [in]justice, and becoming a more cognizant well-rounded global citizen. Then… I came across the International Development Studies program at the University of Toronto Scarborough and I thought to myself “this is perfect!!” I looked into it some more, looked at brief descriptions of the classes I would be taking, the faculty members in the program etc. and I really liked what I saw. And then it got better- I saw that there is a IDS Cooperative studies program where the student would spend 8-12 months overseas getting practical real world experience! The second I saw that, I knew I had to give it a shot and apply even though I was a little bit intimidated by the interview aspect of the application process. I am so happy I did because here I am now.

I am currently living in the western highlands of Guatemala in a small town called Comitancillo where I will be spending the next 10 months working as a Program Assistance with a community-based development organization called Asociación Maya-Mam de Investigación y Desarollo (AMMID) or, Association Maya-Mam for Research and Development- a partner organization of a Canadian charity called Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D). AMMID's work is dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable populations- in particular the Maya-Mam indigenous community of Comitancillo. This community (much like other indigenous communities in Guatemala) have historically been marginalized and treated unjustly by the Guatemalan state. The organization thus works to create alternatives to structural problems and this is done in an autonomous and sustainable way while respecting and protecting the Maya Mam identity. As an intern, I will be working with AMMID by supporting their on-going projects which includes promoting aroecology and sustainable farming techniques so as to ensure food security for the families as well as allow them the opportunity to sell their goods in the market in order to make a modest income. I will also be partaking in and helping to lead various workshops on different themes among these: women’s empowerment, nutrition programs, and oral health programs. 

I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. I invite you all to come along on this journey with me by checking out my YouTube channel where I hope to vlog (video blog) throughout this experience. Here is a link to my introduction vlog and be sure to stay tuned J

Wishing everyone reading this all the best! Also, wish me luck! Send positive energy/vibes/prayers… all of that! I appreciate it all!