Behind the Scenes
By Yu-ting Lin and Julia Turnbull
This summer, the number of En Vía Volunteers has hit a record high. We now have over 20 volunteers joining us from all over the world, helping us in our mission to fight poverty in Oaxaca. We are honored to be surrounded by an amazing team of volunteers. Therefore, we wanted to share a few of their stories to give an idea of the people that make En Vía tick.
Kim takes photos in a weaver's shop
Kim Groves, of Brisbane, Australia, came to Mexico in 2007, while on an around-the-world-adventure. Of all the places she saw, Mexico stayed with her. She wrote her university thesis on Mexico’s agricultural politics and has always dreamed of returning. This past January, Kim bought her ticket to Mexico and just a few weeks ago she brought her talents to En Vía. With her fantastic photography skills, Kim documents our tours, English classes, business classes, and special events, like Noche En Vía. She is also helping with community outreach, by greeting visitors at Xochimilco’s Organic Market on Saturdays, and leading tours to Teotitlán del Valle and Díaz Ordaz. Kim says her favorite thing about working with En Vía is the relationships she is building with the women in the program. She hopes to learn as much as possible about them in order to facilitate a deeper cultural exchange during the tours.
Alo listens to one of our borrowers
Our social butterfly, Alo Gorozpe, is the person to go to if you want to know what’s going on in Oaxaca City or Teotitlán. Honestly, he has probably befriended over half of Oaxaca in the few weeks he’s been here. A Mexico City native studying Architecture and Urbanism at Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, Alo found out about En Vía through the list of programs of social services at his school. He spends his time with En Vía helping borrowers create brand identities for their businesses. Alo was also the brains behind Noche En Vía, our first, and very successful, local fundraising event. With only a few weeks left at En Vía, Alo is busy planning a second event for July 15th, which is sure to be another success. We’ll be sad to see him leave so soon, as his efforts have gone a long way in helping En Vía forge partnerships in the local Oaxaca community. Luckily, he has promised to come back and help with our future events!
Pritha, one of our business teachers at graduation in June
Pritha Dev is a volunteer in our business-training program and came to En Vía most recently from Mexico City, though she is from India, and has lived and studied in the United Kingdom and the United States, among other places. Pritha is currently a faculty member at ITAM in Mexico City, and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from New York University. She has always been interested in finding out more about micro-finance and its impact on poverty. She was particularly fascinated by En Vía’s micro-finance model, as it has strategically combined tourism and micro-finance with the ultimate purpose of ending poverty and empowering women. She describes her involvement in the business program so far as extremely enriching and rewarding. The business program has provided some simple yet creative business ideas for women to incorporate into their business, and a platform to voice their challenges. Her enthusiasm for development initiatives like En Vía radiates when she describes what she too has learned from her students this summer. Pritha has been very pleased to see their growth, and enjoys working with them to find solutions to challenges they face in their businesses.
Our volunteers bring a variety of academic disciplines, life stories, hobbies, and new ideas to En Vía. This summer’s volunteers are doing amazing things to help En Vía move forward. Thanks to the donated time, energy, and creativity of our dedicated volunteers, we can continue to fight poverty, empower women, and educate travelers.