Our story is much different than the stories behind the entrepreneurs that have launched so many inspiring nonprofits. For example, we have no experience in the nonprofit sector, we did not grow up in the villages we are working to help, and our families were not active in either nonprofits or South America. In fact, we had not visited these villages prior to establishing our nonprofit.
I believe our passion was sparked by travel and visiting other cultures even for a short time. The three of us shared a passion for the Andean people, different cultures, and for helping others. When I say we, I mean Kasey, McKinsey, and myself (Lauren). The three of us grew up together and attended the same high school.
We formed our nonprofit and received our 501c3 status when we were still in college. We had the passion but lacked the time or funding to move forward. Then COVID hit. COVID hit us and it hit the villages and people that our nonprofit was formed to support. In fact, the villagers high in the Andes were hit far worse than we were here in the states. Access to the villages was closed, tourism stopped, jobs were lost, and there was no employment or as we know it, unemployment compensation.
We have been fortunate to make connections with for-profit organizations and nonprofit organizations. People want to help people that want to help others. We sell products made by artisans and we promote tours and cultural visits. The products are made mostly by women villagers and most of the men work in tourism.
We believe that most of us have a desire to help others. We encourage you to start by supporting, donating, or volunteering. However, if you have the opportunity, Go! Visit other cultures and get a small taste of their lives. We believe that you will be forever changed in a very positive way.
Thank you for visiting,
Lauren, McKinsey, and Kasey