Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation and CHOICE Humanitarian are working together to bring education and opportunities to Guatemala.
Guatemala was chosen as the Co-Impact Sourcing location for doTERRA’s Cardamom essential oil because the environment in Alta Verapaz is particularly conducive to the Cardamom plant. The hot, humid, and rainy weather, paired with the nutrient-rich clay soil, produces the perfect balance of therapeutic chemical components for the Cardamom plant and eventually essential oil.
Only one percent of the world’s Cardamom plants are distilled for essential oil, while the rest are harvested and sold at spice markets. The market for Cardamom, however, has historically been rather unstable in Alta Verapaz. Because the market is so saturated with middlemen, farmers are forced to sell their Cardamom to middlemen lower prices, and then the middlemen resell the Cardamom at higher prices. This exchange leaves the farmers in a tight economical spot as they try to product quality Cardamom and make a profit on their crops.
By partnering with doTERRA in a Co-Impact Sourcing program, Cardamom growers in Guatemala receive several benefits. First, members of the local communities are provided with sustainable jobs for which they are offered higher pay, and are provided with more effective methods of growing their Cardamom plants. Additionally, doTERRA donates a margin to the price of the Cardamom oil, which goes to the harvesting communities to build schools, hospitals, and pod-drying facilities that will result in the harvesters receiving an even higher price for their pods.
Emily Wright, doTERRA Executive Vice President, says of the Co-Impact Sourcing initiative in Guatemala, “I am so excited for what the future holds as our Co-Impact Sourcing initiatives begin to bless the lives of these humble, hard-working people. Sustainable jobs are being created, education and health care are more readily available, and a new perspective on the quality of life is given. We are committed to lifting up this community of Cardamom harvesters and many others.”
And that commitment to lifting up the Guatemala community of Cardamom harvesters does not stop with the Co-Impact Sourcing initiative. In a partnership with the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation partner CHOICE Humanitarian, doTERRA funded an exciting venture to build a new training center, Sika’abe, in the Polochic valley of Guatemala. In Q’eqchi, the indigenous Mayan language of the locals in the Polochic valley, “Sika’abe” means “seek your path”. Suitably, the Sika’abe center’s primary focus is to break the cycle of poverty by teaching skills from construction, to hospitality, to agriculture.
As part of a Wellness Advocate humanitarian trip to Guatemala in February of 2015, two groups of doTERRA executives and Wellness Advocates traveled with the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation to Alta Verapaz, Guatemala to provide humanitarian aid to the locals. Volunteers painted the walls at the Sika’abe Training Center, terraced the soil on the mountainside, placed septic tanks, and worked with Days for Girls to educate women on personal hygiene and provide the local girls who have reached the age of maturation with reusable feminine hygiene kits. The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation also provided enough funds for a one-year salary to hire a new doctor in anticipation of the newly-built, self-sustained hospital in Guatemala. Subsequent trips with the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation allowed participants to continue to work on projects involving agriculture and farming, vented stoves, and Days for Girls trainings.
In 2016, the doTERRA Healing hands Foundation and CHOICE Humanitarian supported the building of a drying facility in Guatemala for those working as part of doTERRA’s Co-Impact Sourcing initiative. As it may take growers several days to harvest all of their Cardamom plants, and a healthy shelf-life of Cardamom is typically only three days, traveling long distances to a drying facility meant that the plants were often past their peak freshness before they could be dried. With the establishment of the new drying facility, Cardamom growers in Guatemala now have the resources to dry their plants immediately after harvesting while they are freshest. In coordination with doTERRA’s Co-Impact Sourcing initiative, CHOICE Humanitarian and the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation are excited about the economical and healthcare improvements in Guatemala, and look forward to many more years of sustainability and success in this area.