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Roots & Wings International

Cause Area

  • Children & Youth
  • Community
  • Education & Literacy
  • Employment
  • International


5018 N Allen Pl.Spokane, WA 99205 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

Roots & Wings International promotes elementary through university education in rural Guatemala. We work with indigenous youth whose families earn approximately $2 per day growing coffee. Our work is rooted in recognizing the importance of culturally responsive education that empowers students to connect their cultural identity with sustainable social and economic development.


Currently, the organization's focus is on the Boca Costa region of Guatemala. This region is located in southwest Guatemala, on the Pacific coast, and is primarily populated by indigenous K'iche' speakers. People in this region survive on subsistence farming and some production of coffee and bananas for exportation. The majority of the population studies no further than the sixth grade and the average family income is less than $60 per month.

The immediate goal of Roots & Wings Intl is to foster university education in this region for the purpose of promoting a group of indigenous professionals from the area. Once an applicant pool of local bilingual professionals is formed, the organization's goal will be to establish a high school run by these local leaders.

The overall goal is to offer a high quality education that prepares students to become competitive university applicants, while preserving and valuing their rich Mayan heritage. To make post-secondary studies a possibility, Roots & Wings Intl will offer university scholarships to all qualifying high school graduates who choose to continue on to their university studies.


Would you recommend Roots & Wings International?
9 reviews Write a review
by Kumar T. (March 21, 2012)
It has been absolutely great experience working for Roots and Wings International. I have been working with them for almost an year now. The leadership and people involved in this organization have done a great job spreading eduction in rural Guatemala and I am delighted to be a part of the great team. I highly recommend volunteering for this organization
by Anabel M. (July 20, 2011)
Roots and Wings International is a rare jewel in the world of non-profit organizations. The people involved in the projects are a joy to work with, and the effectiveness of their efforts in making education more accesible in rural Guatemala are there for anyone to be seen: full university scholarships, a new learning center, computers and local tutors for the children, development meetings facilitated by local staff and much more. If you'd like to volunteer with an organization that really makes a difference while making it worth your while, look no further - you found it in Roots and Wings International.
by Alysse R. (July 19, 2011)
Roots & Wings has been one of the best volunteer experiences I have ever had. As a blogger for RWI, I have had the opportunity to practice my writing skills and stay up to date on the goings on in Guatemala. Although I have a lot of flexibility about when I post and on the topics, the blog editor is always available to provide encouragement and guidance. Even though everyone works remotely, the staff is always responsive to questions and new ideas! On a broader level, I believe RWI is doing great work because they truly beleive in sustainable development that is guided by the people that they work to empower.
by Patrick M. (July 19, 2011)
Roots and Wings International has been nothing but a great experience. I have been volunteering there for 4 months. The leadership is very professional and the organization in general is run like clock work. I had the opportunity to visit their site in the highlands of Guatemala and saw how integrated the organization is into the community. The way they function is impressive and I would recommend anyone who cares about the well-being of the Guatemalan community to join the team. It has provided invaluable experience.
by Riya A. (March 20, 2010)
If you're looking for an enriching experience, a quality organization and a team of supportive leaders, RWI is an excellent organization to work with. RWI leaders are supportive and very knowledgeable. They collaborate with the team of volunteers like a well-oiled engine to accomplish specific goals that advance the organization's mission. RWI is growing, and so is its team of volunteers. The volunteers themselves are very talented in their respective fields. It's a great collaboration process just to work with them. If you're looking to build your skill set or just help Guatemalan students get an education, RWI is a highly recommended and worthwhile nonprofit to which you can dedicate your time.
by Joy B. from Nashville, TN (November 29, 2009)
Erik, President of Roots & Wings International, is fantastic to work with, and very responsive when clarification is needed. He is so appreciative of any assistance volunteers can provide. Roots & Wings International provides opportunities and transforms communities in rural Guatemala...where most families have to survive on $2 per day growing coffee. The work theydo enables the children and young adults to afford an education and even go to college. I highly recommend volunteering for this very worthy and proactive organization.
by Shadi M. from Peoria, AZ (September 5, 2009)
Roots and Wings is a fantastic organization. The team makes you feel as if you're part of the family, even if you're only volunteering a few hours a week. I would recommend this organization to anyone wanting some volunteer experience.
by Edwin L. (August 1, 2009)
"I highly recommend "Roots and Wings Intl". They are a dedicated group helping students in Guatemala. They are a good organization to volunteer for. What sets them apart in my mind is how truly appreciative they were. I felt welcomed and supported by their very dedicated volunteers. They're very encouraging to new volunteers. As a web designer / webmaster, RWI helps me to develop my skills."
by Tammy C. from Sunnyvale, CA (March 3, 2009)
Roots & Wings International is one of the best non-profits I've worked with remotely. As a publicity volunteer, I have ample opportunity to apply and upgrade my skills. The founder Erik is great to work with and allows volunteers to take their projects as far as they want to and as much as they can commit. The organization is fully run by volunteers in the U.S. and I think it's great that 95% of the donations go into programs. I highly recommend checking out volunteer opportunities with Roots and Wings International.

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