History of Aldeas de Paz
In the 1990s a German entrepreneur developed the Peace Villages Foundation, a social purpose NGO. For this he left his successful business career behind to become a social activist. He joined grassroots NGO’s around the globe and worked as a volunteer with the intention of helping to promote a “Culture of Peace”. Learning to put his entrepreneurial skills to work and gaining important NGO management experience, enabled him to set up replicable and self-sustained development programs under the legal frame of Fundaciòn Aldeas de Paz in Venezuela (2001) and the Dominican Republic (2015).
These days Fundaciòn Aldeas de Paz operates successful development and aid programs in the Samana province, a peninsula in the north-eastern corner of the Dominican Republic. Venezuelan operations are temporaley suspended until the situation allows for foreign aid workers to return savely to the country!
The Beginnings in Venezuela
The Peace Villages Foundation started in 1995 a first humanitarian project in Merida, Venezuela. Right from the beginning the project was financed through a Rotational Credit based on the collocation of the founders own life savings in form of a personal loan used as seed funding or seed capital. As the rotational credit is returned it is re-invested in yet a new project and so on.
The work in Merida focused on children rights. Efforts were made to integrate street children and at-risk youth into a more stable environment, and at times into foster families. With the aim of creating a registered NGO in Venezuela, the founder and his friends succeeded with the legal constitution of Fundaciòn Aldeas de Paz in Caracas (2001) and the Dominican Republic (2015). Aldeas de Paz has been focusing its resources and volunteer support on cultural exchange and social development programs ever since.
During 2014 the social and political situation in Venezuela became increasingly violent. Programs based on volunteer participation ever since had to be temporarily suspended in Venezuela.
Aldeas de Paz in the Dominican Republic
In the Dominican Republic our work focuses on education and human rights, gender equality, community development, environmental and climate protection as well as animal rescue. Aldeas de Paz actively promotes cultural exchange and sustainable, ecological tourism as a source of income for impoverished communities in the province. In addition, Aldeas de Paz strives to improve the lives of children, youth and young adults from vulnerable communities and disadvantaged backgrounds. The project locations Santa Bárbara de Samaná and Las Terrenas, both located on the peninsula of Samaná, are lovely coastal towns in the northeast of the Dominican Republic.
1995, the first children rights activities in Merida, Venezuela, started. Focus is on social integration of street children and at-risk youth. Constitution of the Peace Villages Foundation
2001, legal frame work and constitution of Fundaciòn Aldeas de Paz in Caracas, Venezuela.
2002, a violent Coup d’état in Caracas. Aldeas de Paz activities in Caracas where forcefully suspended. Move to Santa Elena de Uairén, center of the Gran Sabana National Park near the Brazilian border in Venezuela. Development of various community based programs around social development, education and special need kids integration. Opening of the attention center “Tucusito” in the center of Santa Elena de Uairén.
2003, building of the new Aldeas de Paz Attention Center with school and equine therapy activities and Volunteer residence as well as community outreach programs for youth care and community development, indigenous empowerment, skill training and health prevention of the charity own 5 ha plot in a beautiful setting next to the rain forest on the edge of the National Park
2014, social and political unrest in Venezuela became increasingly violent and programs based on volunteer participation had to be suspended until further notice.
2015 Aldeas de Paz opens a new outlet in Samaná, the Dominican Republic. The foundation focuses its resources and volunteer support on social development programs and cultural exchange. Opening of the first Attention Center for special need kids in the province of Samana.
2016, Aldeas de Paz becomes the local host partner for the German Red Cross and the German Government sponsored program called “Weltwärts”: German Red Cross volunteers join Aldeas de Paz in the Dominican Republic to help out for an entire year after which a new team will be placed every year.
2017, legal frame work and constitution of Fundaciòn Aldeas de Paz in the DR is completed. Opening of a new branch in Las Terrenas, a beautifully set town on the northern coast of the Samana province and peninsula with the same name.
2020, Our social programs have been developed and expanded ever since. Aldeas de Paz has become an important agent for Marine Conservation in the region and we where granted a UN sponsored project for coral reef restoration. Our volunteers reach has expanded too and we successfully opened a second branch in Las Terrenas not far from Samana where our attention centre and main office is located.
What we do
With our Youth Care and Community Work Program we aim to empower children and young adults by offering them additional educational opportunities and tutoring classes, as well as supporting and educating parents. With the help of local professionals we started the first ever educational and therapeutic initiative for children with special needs in the peninsula of Samaná.
With our Permaculture & Aquaponics internship you can study agroecology, food security and sustainability while living in the Caribbean at an permaculture inspired, agro-tourism Demonstration & Education Center near famous Cabarete Beach. This pilot project is located near a tropical river outside the famous surf town of Cabarete, on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.
Our small Community Attention Center, located in the heart of Samaná, hosts our special needs center and offers computer literacy, English and German classes and cultural exchange activities. In different locations around Samaná and Las Terrenas we offer a Diving & Marine Conservation Internship where we restore the coral reefs in front of the seaside town of Las Terrenas.
Additionally, we raise awareness for critical issues through our Social Media, Multimedia and Journalism Project. An awareness raising television program is planned, with the aim to help educate parents and attend adolescent issues. With the help of our NGO Management and Admin Program we coordinate our efforts and keep up with the management of operations in the area. Within this program, we support our staff to coordinate the various initiatives and logistical planning involved with the aim to become self-sustained in the community.
Our Medical and Dental Health Experience and Observation Programs allows interns and volunteers to shadow and assist the nurses and doctors in the local hospitals, neighborhood clinics and dental clinics.
Our Animal Rescue Program offers interns the possibility to gain working experience with abandoned animals, promoting their health and defending their rights. Thanks to the great efforts of all the volunteers from around the world, Fundación Aldeas de Paz is able to make a positive impact on the local community!