We believe in handing out opportunities and not giving handouts. We also believe in accountability and transparency. We believe that this approach will bring about lasting change because it is inclusive and fair. It may not be the quickest way to see change, and certainly is not the easiest. It takes time and commitment. It takes consistency and determination.
We don’t affiliate with any religious or political groups. We believe in helping people, whatever their beliefs.
Giving handouts never is a sustainable model for community development work. To create lasting change, local people must do the work themselves, it takes time. There are cultural differences, there is education disparity, and there is an overall disconnect to the global economy. It takes baby steps, commitment, and lots of patience.
Transparency and accountability are tough to deploy in a town of 2000 people. We developed a wiki to track opportunities given in El Transito to help us track accountability and maintain a transparent relationship with people we help in El Transito. When you are working with that many people at one time, it is hard to keep track of who has been given what. The wiki records every opportunity, every emergency, every volunteer hour a resident has worked with our organization. This helps us track and understand what programs work and where we are making an impact. It also helps us make sure that those who are working to make changes in their lives are awarded more opportunities. We like to give first chance to those who have shown the most commitment to changing their own lives and their communities.
Our philosophy is not an easy or fast solution to transform a community, but the results are incredible once they begin to emerge. After eleven years in El Transito, we can see permanent changes beginning. The town has an emerging tourism boom. We attribute this to many factors, and we believe our contribution to keeping the town clean has been a big factor in attracting tourists and businesses.
Solid Surf has been operating out of El Transito for many years now bringing many opportunities for locals to gain employment. They have expanded their operations to include a hostel and a hotel. We work hand in hand with the Solid Surf, and they coordinate many education and volunteer opportunities with our programs. In addition, many small restaurants are emerging as well as other boutique hotels.
El Transito even has a public library that is always looking for new Spanish books to add to their collection. A noticeable shift has begun and is gaining momentum and it is incredible to witness.