There are thousands of children who live and work on the streets throughout Bolivia. It is estimated that in Santa Cruz alone, more than 3,000 children are currently on the streets, and over 10,000 are at risk of becoming street children. Alalay work tirelessly to provide these kids (some as young as 4) with a safe place to grow up, to be educated and learn the life skills they need to become fully independent adults. Alalay provides food, a home and a place to enjoy childhood, before supporting teenagers through vocational training as well as assisting them with financial independence and finding jobs to support themselves into their future. For more info you can check out their website here.
Merazonia, based on the border of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, is a wildlife rescue centre who work hard to rehabilitate abused animals that have been seized and confiscated from the illegal pet trade. Their vets and hard working volunteers work tirelessly to ensure all of the animals get the care they need in the most natural environment possible. Their goal is always to release the animals they rescue, and their strict hands off policy ensures they give them the best chance possible once back in the wild. For more info you can check out their awesome website here.
Kids Saving the Rainforest - Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) started in 1999, when two 9 year olds saw their beloved rainforest and the animals within it disappearing around them. They had a vision of a facility that would help the animals of the rainforest and teach tourists and local people how to protect it. Now KSTR functions as an animal rescue centre offering animal rehabilitation to wild animals, with the aim for returning them back into the rainforest. They are also spearheading scientific research with sloths (The Sloth Institute Program) and providing conservation education and training to locals and tourists alike. Their reforestation and monkey bridge initiatives have been a huge success, with over 7,000 trees been planted in the last few years, and over 130 monkey bridges strategically placed in locations where monkeys have previously been injured from crossing roads and power lines. KSTR rescue and rehabilitate over 130 orphaned, injured or confiscated animals each year; the hardworking volunteers and onsite vet work tirelessly every day to ensure the animals have the very best enclosures, are fed correctly and taught how to behave in their natural environment. You can read more about their efforts here.
Espaço Vidarte - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Espaço Vidarte is a tiny dance school doing big things in the community. Based in Inhaúma, a favela in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this project is all about breaking the poverty cycle, empowering children and allowing them to express themselves in a safe environment.Ran by volunteers, Espaço Vidarte takes kids out of the favelas of Rio and provides a safe place to dance, laugh and be inspired to open their minds to more than a life of favela crime. They are encouraged to go to school, to get their inoculations, to do their homework… and some of the children have even received scholarships from dance academies and colleges! This is a wonderful and inspirational project ran by people with big ideas and even bigger hearts. Check out more photos and videos from our visit here.