Quetzaltrekkers, León, Nicaragua

Quetzaltrekkers exist to provide financial assistance to underfunded community development projects in and around León. The organisation were founded in 2004 and are based in the historical city of León in Nicaragua. They currently support five projects each month as well a variety of special projects; their streeet outreach programmes support youth from low-income areas and children with families with financial struggles.

Some of their current programmes include:

 

“Móvil”: a portable library where Wilfredo leads educational seminars in various public and private schools throughout Leon.  The seminars are designed to raise students’ enthusiasm for learning and provide local educators with new teaching strategies and ideas for their classes. Quetzaltrekkers funds Wilfredo’s salary and educational materials for the library.
 
Las Tías: an NGO that provides a safe space for at-risk youth in two day-care centres. Quetzaltrekkers funds food for daily lunches, school supplies, transport, scholarships for several children in the program, and the salaries of vocational teachers at Las Tías Grandes.
 
Proyecto Barriletes: an organisation who create a safe, constructive environment that gives kids an alternative from working on the streets or being enticed by the gangs prevalent in the southern barrios of León.  Quetzaltrekkers buy the food and supplies necessary for preparing 200 lunches, 5 days a week. Additionally they have also purchased a second house for the project to expand and serve more local youth.  
 
Las Chavaladas: the “escuela movil” (mobile school), a device given by Mobile School a Belgian organisation and funded by Quetzaltrekkers. Literally a school on wheels, the “escuela movil” contains educational materials, and can be used in the markets where many children live. By bringing the classroom to the streets, educators are able to teach important skills to children who would not otherwise attend school. In addition to financing the transport of the mobile school to Nicaragua, Quetzaltrekkers pays the monthly salary of the educator responsible for utilising the device. One of the first steps of the reintegration system, the sports program entices street kids, specifically those abusing glue, to put their stimulants aside for a few hours.  Thus, after time, they build trust with the Chavaladas workers and volunteers, and can begin to become integrated into the Chavaladas system, progressing toward a drug-free lifestyle in a healthy living environment.

Quetzaltrekkers are uniquely partly self-funded through a tourism model where the organisation offers hike tours to the volcanoes surrounding León to international clients. Although the principal commitment to the organisations is financial, Quetzeltrekkers volunteers spend time each week helping with homework, playing soccer, and building friendships with the children at the various projects.

To find out more about the projects Quetzaltrekkers support, or to book yourself onto one of their hikes (!) see their website.