One important aspect of visiting or becoming part of a new community is finding ways to involve yourself and give back to the people, animals, and environment around you. In the Caribbean, these opportunities abound, especially in and around the little town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in Belize.
SAGA Humane Society
Every heart melts at the sight of a sad animal on the side of the street, but the Saga Humane Society is working to solve these situations one stray at a time. A non-profit, non-governmental organization, the group aims to prevent cruelty to animals and ultimately replace it with kindness. The center provides medical care and shelter to animals in need, as well as subsidizes veterinary care for families who can’t afford the services their pet might require. Saga hopes to someday build a permanent animal clinic and education center on Ambergris Caye, and continue working toward this long-term solution to end animal abuse, neglect, and overpopulation with our help.
Saga accepts donations of any kind, and also welcomes volunteers to walk, feed, bathe, and generally help care for the animals. To get involved, visit their website, here
Marine life is one of the Caribbean’s greatest gifts to all earthlings, and the abundance of biodiversity in Belize is certainly something worth looking after. Green Reef is one non-profit, non-governmental membership organization that is dedicated to the protection of the environment and the conservation of the Belize Barrier Reef. As a scientific and educational outfit, Green Reef promotes interest in wildlife, as well as conservation of natural resources to students, teachers, tourism guides, fishermen, visitors, and the general public. The group’s main goal is to maintain the integrity of each ecosystems for the benefit of all people, through the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources.
Green Reef is always accepting volunteers of all kinds to help promote its cause on the ground and via the internet. If you’re feeling fishy and want to get involved with the organization, check out its webpage here
Liberty Children’s Home
On a human-to-human level, there is perhaps no greater joy than helping improve the life of an impoverished child. Liberty Children’s Home is a sanctuary for children in need. It provides a natural environment of love and nurturing, as well as a high standard of education. The home’s philosophy follows both the Pikler Method of childcare—a well-researched approach developed to prevent the damaging effects of institutionalization on children—and the Reggio Emilia and Montessori methods that aim for the fullest possible development of the whole child.
Although the Home does accept volunteers on-site, they are most urgently in need of monetary and physical item donations to assist with wages, food, utility bills, and basic home or hygiene upkeep. If you or anyone you know is interested in working with or sending support to this organization, you can find all the information you need on their website.
San Pedro Smile Center
Every country has folks who find themselves in need of medical care that they simply aren’t able to afford. The San Pedro Smile Center at Holy Cross Anglican Primary School is making strides to close the gap between income and good oral health, through educational programs and dental work discounts. The Smile Center is run by dental professionals who volunteer their time to provide care to students and their families. Patients are provided with lessons in proper brushing, flossing, and fluoride treatments, and also receive restorative procedures, sealants, periodontal treatments, and emergency care.
The Smile Center is always in search of passionate people to donate time, money, and/or medical supplies to its cause, and can be reached via its website to further discuss needs and available opportunities.