Monthly Impact Stories
Learn how V Social creates a positive impact month by month
June 2023 (Guatemala)
Workshop with Indigenous women to recognize them as guardians of cultural values
V Social organized a workshop called ¨Who am I¨ as part of a visit to the women-led project, Manos de Fe. The workshop aimed to recognize Indigenous women as the protectors and guardians of cultural values and the guarantors of the permanence of their people. It was led by Eide Fletes, a facilitator of workshops for women living on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. She and our coordinator shared two full days with the group, learning more about the project and their immediate needs for items such as tables, chairs, and cutlery, which will be used with future groups.
We have just started to support this community-based tourism project, though they have been around for about seven years. The group's main objective is to protect the practice of traditional weaving. An issue facing the community is that of Chinese companies selling textiles for a cheaper price. This group of brave women began their venture to bring awareness to the consumer. Through the projects, travelers learn the value and importance of traditional weaving, and can buy directly from community groups from Guatemala.
At the moment, we are learning more about the project, as well as its strengths and weaknesses, so that we can have a positive impact on the development of the project in the near future.
May 2023 (Mexico)
New ecofilters donated to improve the quality of drinking water for five families and numerous travelers
V Social has donated three ecofilters to the houses where food is prepared, with the objective of reducing plastic use, fostering a better economy, and making our travelers more conscious of the value of clean water.
The filters support the Muyuche women's project, as well as the visitors that come to their homes to eat. The filters benefit directly an average of five people per family, as well as numerous visitors indirectly.
April 2023 (Argentina)
V Social helped Isla Maciel finalize an agreement, securing 1,000 additional visitors
One of VSF's main objectives is to gain support from agencies for community projects they strengthen. One such successful project is Isla Maciel, which has received 680 passengers in a four-month Patagonia season, a significant achievement for a young initiative. Most passengers are from Viventura and other agencies with whom VSF has formed alliances.
The negotiation process between Isla Maciel and tour operators involves technical aspects, training, and fair trade considerations. VSF has been giving advice to Isla Maciel so that they can make informed decisions while negotiating contracts. With V Social's assistance, Isla Maciel finalized an agreement with G Adventures, which they expect will bring 1,000 more visitors.
This project's growth is a key focus for VSF, with a goal of doubling their monthly income through new partnerships. As the first organization to support this project, VSF's involvement has already resulted in benefits to 25 neighbors and a group of 13 young people actively participating in 70 tours.
March 2023 (Cuba)
Reducing the gender gap in rural areas of Cuba
V Social enabled more than 15 people from diverse backgrounds—including doctors, environmentalists, public personnel, biologists, farmers, and local entrepreneurs—to learn from a specialist, Cynthia Castro, about reducing the gender gap in Latin America. Despite some initial difficulties, V Social was able to conduct a virtual workshop.
Cynthia is passionate about human rights, a dreamer and a social entrepreneur. She opened a discussion on the vital role everyone plays in achieving gender equality and improving relationships in Cuba. Men shared their experiences with the difficult societal expectations of being a "real man."
Participants acknowledged that gender inequality is a global issue, and one that will take a long time to fix. This workshop was one effort to think of solutions to unlearning social rules and creating a world of freedom.
February 2023 (Colombia)
Volunteer Gerwin encourages learning English so that Ecotours La Boquilla can grow
Gerwin, a German V Social volunteer, is supporting the La Boquilla project in Colombia. Previously, he traveled with Viventura where he visited V Social projects in different countries. After he retired in 2021, he decided to dedicate his time to helping out with social projects. His role involved handling administrative matters and leading an English course for tour guides.
Ronnie Monsalve, the leader of Ecotours La Boquilla, expressed his gratitude for volunteers like Gerwin. With his help, the administration of the project improved, and the guides were able to offer their services to more people. Approximately 4,000 tourists visit per year, and 90% of them do not speak Spanish. Learning English is a fundamental objective for the project, as it means they do not have to outsource translators, and therefore can continue to grow.
There were two study groups, one open to the whole community and one exclusively for members of Ecotours La Boquilla, almost all local guides. In total, more than 20 students were able to learn from Gerwin in the six months that he volunteered with the project. The exchange of cultures and bonds of trust that were established meant that the learning was mutual.
V Social was instrumental in connecting Gerwin with the project and supporting Ecotours La Boquilla by financing some activities and equipment to make sure the project was a success.
January 2023 (Costa Rica)
Exchange allows Tsiru Alá to improve their chocolate products
V Social organized an exchange program for Fulvia and Lukas, members of the Tsiru Alá community in southern Costa Rica. They were invited to visit Puerto Jimenez to learn from local producers and share their knowledge. The program included visits to four different projects and a national park to learn more about regional tourism. V Social contributed approximately 670 euros to make this exchange possible.
The impact of the program was significant, as valuable information, ideas, and concepts were shared between the participants. They learned about medicinal plants and their uses in Costa Rican traditions. The exchange is expected to lead to improvements in the traveler's experience in Tsiru Alá, such as including more attractive and fun activities. Fulvia, in particular, gained new insights, such as a recipe for caramelized chocolate nips to enhance her offerings. She also took away ideas to improve the presentation and quality of her products.