Proyecto Genesis was established by Ricardo Armas in 2012. Ricardo was born and raised just outside of Anitgua, Guatemala. He is married, with a 1.5 year old daughter, Genesis, who he named to reflect the fact that her birth completely changed his life, giving him a new beginning.
Ricardo visited the town of Estancia de la Virgen San Andres Itzapa, a rural community about an hour outside of Antigua, with a friend who had inherited property there. Arriving without any intention of anything more than a short visit, Ricardo left with a strong desire to help this community. He saw children without the opportunity to receive an education, and the long term effects that was causing on these families living in the cycle of poverty. He began visiting the community on weekends, taking his daughter with him so that he could teach her from the very beginning the importance of helping others. He gathered the children of the community together in an open field to teach them basic education, play games and give them a place to go and something to do. He called it Plan Genesis.
At this time, he had a good paying job working in the administration of a local company but when the owner of the company found out what he was doing on the weekends, she told him that if he continued to do so, he would no longer have a job. She warned him that involving himself with poor people would bring bad luck and poverty to him and she could not have that affecting her business. He quit his full time job and began working during the week with the children in the afternoons, converting Plan Genesis into Proyecto Genesis. Without the steady income from his job, Ricardo's family has adjusted their lifestyle to allow for Ricardo to continue supporting the project. Now he works part time jobs when they are available and has used all of his savings, in order to see that the project is able to continue and grow.
Ricardo transports the volunteers everyday to and from the placement and also helps directly with activities. Lety Barrios, was the first person to partner with Ricardo in supporting Proyecto Genesis. She offered her home as a place for the children to meet and acts as the Director of Programs. She is in charge of keeping track of the materials, giving out supplies and keeping everything in order. Lety Barrios is a home owner in the community and when she saw that Ricardo was meeting with the children outside, she offered her home as a place to meet, where they could have protection from the strong sun and rain. The number of children continues to grow, making it necessary now to use Lety's home as well as rent a small building across the street. The rented house has no electricity and no running water. Most of the children walk a good distance in order to attend project Genesis. Some of them (about 18) have to cross a river of sewage water. This gets difficult, especially when it rains a lot. Some days Ricardo gets in the river and carries over every single child. We are working now on figuring out how to get a bridge for them.
Ricardo's ultimate dream is to build a school in the community. He would like to be able to use the school to educate the children who have previously not had the opportunity to study. He will also continue to provide nutritious snacks to supplement the food they are receiving at home. He wants to have programs to help fill the children's time productively, where they can learn about things such as recycling, nutrition and learn other life skills as well that will be useful to them in their futures.
What the people do at project Genesis is amazing, but they can only do so much. These children need to go to school. Recently I started working with Ricardo and figuring out a way to get these children to school. There are 20 children that do not have the money to go to school. It costs $90 for each child for the entire school year. This includes registration fees, school uniforms, and school materials for the entire year. You have the option to sponser a child by sending $90, or you can send money to put towards matereials at the project such as supplies and games, or money to go towards a bridge. Anything will help. I appreciate everyone's willingness to help. These kids have seriously changed my life, and I really hope I can change theirs.
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