HANDS was conceived in the summer of 2008, when three Guatemalan students from the University of Notre Dame sought a way to make a difference in their country, where poverty is widespread and deeply entrenched. After extensive research, they realized that there was no need to create new projects.
Great sustainable initiatives were already serving local communities; however, these initiatives lacked the necessary human capital and financial resources to maximize their impact. With this in mind, HANDS was created with the goal of bringing efficiency by uniting the efforts of those with a strong desire to help, with those who needed the most.
Despite our relative young age, we have experienced considerable success in signing a large number of partners and involving more people into the cause, including volunteers, donors and organizations. In December 2009, HANDS Guatemala was established to provide volunteers with in-country support, coordinate volunteer programs and develop strong relationships with our partner organizations.
During the summer of 2010, we received our first three volunteers in Guatemala and have been working hard since to accommodate to burgeoning interests in our programs.
In March 2012, HANDS opened a new office in El Salvador, which will allow us to offer a wider varierty of programs and service locations to our volunteers. We hope that this is the beginning of further expansion plans in the rest of Central American countries.
To provide volunteers with service learning opportunities in Central America through which they can make a valuable impact in communities they serve and to the development of these countries.
To be an active agent towards the development of Central America by instilling the impetus for social responsibility and action in emerging leaders.
Embrace the importance of social responsibility and solidarity and give people the opportunity to better our world.
Unify the efforts of organizations currently assisting communities in Central America, students interested in service and donors supporting philanthropic initiatives by acting as a liaison between the aforementioned parties.
Improve the living conditions of the poor by promoting projects that enhance the development of the country.
Contribute to the ethical formation and academic preparation of youths by facilitating educational experiences and service-learning opportunities that promote the intellectual and social development of its participants, helping them lead more humane and productive lives.
- Increase awareness about the situations in developing countries, thus giving students the chance to learn about the social, economic, religious and cultural forces prevalent in these countries.