This March we partnered with [Envisage International](https://www.envisageinternational.com/), a leader in international education marketing, and [IvyWise](https://www.ivywise.com/), the world’s leading educational consultancy, to support [School the World](http://schooltheworld.org/)’s first corporate trip. Our commitment to international education made School the World the perfect project for us to be a part of. During the first week in March, six of our FlyMates (Flywire employees) traveled to Guatemala to support School the World in its ongoing effort to make quality education accessible to children in poor rural areas around the world.
A total of 21 volunteers went on this trip to Guatemala for one week, and completed the construction of a new school and playground in one of the country’s poorest communities. School the World’s program is carefully designed to improve the overall accessibility of public education and quality of teachers within the rural Guatemalan village where the school is built. Most importantly, the program engages the entire community so that community ownership of the initiative helps ensure long-term success.
Each volunteer committed to fund-raising half of the cost of their participation, while Flywire contributed the other half, plus the necessary fixed amount to cover the hard costs of school construction.
FlyMates that attended the trip were Elizabeth Connolly, Office Assistant in Boston; Nantisara Pipattanananti, Customer Service Associate in Valencia; Antonio Ursachi, Helpdesk Support in Valencia; Alicia Niu Le, Product Analyst in Shanghai; MCarmen Ramirez Flores, Software Tester in Valencia; and Germaine Broadbent, Relationship Manager UK in Manchester.
Once our FlyMates arrived in Guatemala, Elizabeth quickly noticed how truly global our company is compared to the other companies that participated. With FlyMates coming from our Boston, Valencia, Shanghai, and London offices, it was clear to her that we were very well represented globally. Antonio, MCarmen, and Nantisara, the only volunteers that spoke fluent Spanish, translated between the kids and the other volunteers.
“The impact these volunteers had in Guatemala is really meaningful,” said Mike Massaro, CEO of Flywire. “Children need a safe place to learn and explore, and the Flywire volunteers devoted a week of their time to build the foundation of a stable learning environment that will last for generations to come. After talking to the FlyMates who participated, I could tell it was a life-changing experience and an awakening for them that School the World has seen in so many of its student participants.”
This trip is just the beginning of the project. Nantisara said, “School the World is a project that lasts for six years. The first step is building the school and the next step is to train the teachers and fathers. After that, there is the opportunity to expand into a secondary school. School the World is considering using the same building and having the primary students attend in the morning and the secondary students in the afternoon. To me, it’s very important that we focus on the same school/project moving forward. The hardest part was leaving the children; they were so sad when we left. But if we stick with this project, we can grow up with those students and really make an impact.”
Kelley Morse, Director, Organizational and Talent Development, will continue to work with School the World to see how Flywire can provide support from the corporate side: “Our goal is to keep in touch with the children at the school. We have lots of ideas that range from being pen pals with the children to loading iPads with educational material that they will be able to use offline.”