Team TVP sat down with our friends at Glasswing International to learn a little bit more about them and to share it with all of you. Glasswing International is our partner NGO in Nicaragua, where we will be traveling to from February 17 - February 24, 2018.
Tell us a little bit about Glasswing International and specifically Glasswing Nicaragua operation?
Glasswing International empowers youth and communities to address the root causes of poverty and violence through education and health programs. We're run by a team of international leaders, with 98% of our senior staff located in the region. This way, we can deliver local solutions with a global perspective.
We began working in Nicaragua in 2014. Despite relative economic stability, Nicaragua remains one of Latin America’s least developed countries. To date, Glasswing Nicaragua has benefited more than 8,000 students in thirteen public schools thanks to diverse corporate and public sector partnerships.
How do you determine your projects?
Glasswing’s approach is assets-based, rather than needs-based, meaning that instead of starting with the problem, we start by seeing who could be involved in positive change for the community. Our programs strive to include students, teachers, families, community members, corporations, and other actors so that everyone has a role in positive community transformation.
How do you work with local communities?
Our work is rooted in community engagement. We believe that empowering communities is best achieved through local participation, which is why we work to integrate the local community in all of our projects. Teachers, students and parents work and learn together, dedicating their time and expertise for the greater good. We believe that engaging and training volunteers not only generates economic value, but it also creates important social impact.
What do you enjoy about partnering with THE VACATION PROJECT?
We love getting to know new people and partners who are committed to really making a positive change in the communities that they visit. It is great to see how young travelers can incorporate social good into their vacation and make a lasting impact on the communities they visit.
What is your favorite part of the upcoming TVP Nicaragua itinerary?
The school project at La Prusia Public School is our favorite part, because we’re bringing together both the vacationers and the community members to improve the school’s infrastructure. The transformation focuses on improving both the school’s exterior and interior, renovating everything from improving existing classrooms and bathrooms, planting gardens, creating vibrant educational murals, and more. These seemingly small changes will dramatically improve the learning environment for children, teachers, and administrators, instilling a newfound sense of pride and unity within the school. Thanks to all the volunteers, including parents, teachers, students, and the TVP team and travelers, each individual is empowered to be a part of the solution.
What would you say is unique about the programs you engage in to aid local communities (educational initiatives, health programs etc.)?
What is special about our methodology is the integrated community involvement. We have trained and mobilized thousands of community members. By empowering all of these individuals and enabling them to become part of the solution and share in the commitment, we are connecting all sectors of society and capitalizing on a community's existing strengths.
How do volunteers help your organization?
Volunteers are a fundamental part of our work. They provide the energy and creativity for all our programs. For students, knowing that a caring adult is there, voluntarily, to spend time with them means the world. They feel cared for and deserving. Volunteers include corporate volunteers, university students, local community members and older students that want to give back to their younger peers, and of course travelers from The Vacation Project!