The mission of Pura Vida is to facilitate the sharing of resources with communities in Guatemala in a meaningful, respectful, and long term way. Our primary focus is on providing educational opportunities for children in rural villages through scholarships, tutoring, and support of local schools. We encourage others to work with us as we give our time, knowledge, and resources to help poor rural communities attain a standard of living in which their children can thrive.
Often when trying to help the poor, people want to give. That is a great impulse. The challenge, however, is to give in such a way that beneficiaries become more self-sufficient in the long term. At Pura Vida we are working to create programs that harness the giving impulse in a way that results in lasting change.
We have seen handouts sabotage meaningful development by creating dependency and damaging personal relationships.
We believe in giving a hand up, not a handout. It's easy to give money away, but as a development strategy that rarely results in lasting change, and can even cause substantial damage. Although it's difficult to create programs to lift families out of poverty, we believe that a thoughtful approach to development can benefit everyone.
That is why all of our major programs require that beneficiaries contribute something to the cause. In the case of a family receiving a new home, they must contribute labor to the construction. Scholarship students must keep their grades up, write at least 2 letters per year to their sponsor, and pay incidental educational expenses. Participants in the water purification program must contribute towards the replacement of the filter element.
As a result of working together with our beneficiaries, we have seen robust growth in our programs. We have seen young children turn into responsible, self-reliant adults. We have even hired prior scholarship students as local staff!