Most students report that service work is the most impactful part of their trip. Better Lives and local partners create opportunities for students to collaborate shoulder-to-shoulder with local families on projects that improve children’s lives. Visiting students choose the service work they will spend time on based on the needs of the community and the funds the group has raised. Projects are categorized in six focus areas:
Better Lives collaborates with local partners to help ensure communities have access to clean and affordable water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and irrigation. Water access solutions follow a variety of designs depending on a community’s current water sources, need, and capacity. Our local partners help their communities develop the skills, infrastructure, and processes to maintain a sustainable water delivery system.
We collaborate with local partners to help communities nourish their soil. Healthy soil enables families to produce sustainable, nutritious, chemical-free food. Nourishing the soil maximizes the soil’s productivity while minimizing the work to care for soil and plants. We help families nourish their soil by using best practices including building raised garden beds, applying compost and rice hull charcoal, protecting beds from extreme weather, and planting them in a way that maintains the soil’s fertility.
We collaborate with local partners to help families grow organic vegetables to support health and earn additional income from selling surplus vegetables. Organic nourishment strengthens children’s immune systems and overall health. This enables them to attend more school and be more attentive in class because they are not distracted by hunger pains. We help children strengthen their health by building organic vegetable gardens using Food Always In The Home (FAITH) principles.
We collaborate with our partners to help families generate income. Our objective is to enable parents to afford normal living, medical and education expenses while raising their children in a safe and healthy home. We help families increase their income through training and ongoing mentoring for business and technical skills, coupled with micro-loans.
Families with sufficient regular income can invest in home improvements so their children live in a safe, healthy environment that has light for reading and studying at night. We provide assistance with savings and micro-loans that fund home improvements ranging from kitchen utensils to home additions and new home building that use local building techniques.
We collaborate with local partners and schools to improve the teaching environment by assisting with provision of clean water, toilets, hand wash basins, kitchens, vegetable gardens, and breakfast. This is accomplished by providing design assistance and donations that fund facilities construction and nutritious breakfast mix.