Volume photography company Lifetouch is celebrating more than 20 years of Memory Missions by bringing a team of volunteers to Guatemala where they will help build a more environmentally responsible school out of plastic bottles. The trip takes place from Jan.18-25, 2023.
Since 2000 the Lifetouch Memory Mission philanthropic initiative enables company employees and national education partners to travel worldwide to provide intensive volunteer services. Past mission trips have included helping to rebuild a village in war-torn Kosovo, repairing homes in Appalachia, establishing a children’s center in Jamaica, and constructing a bridge in the land of the Navajo in Arizona, the company said. Memory Mission volunteers have also built thirteen schools across Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This year’s trip will include nearly 40 volunteers consisting of educators, Lifetouch employees, and executives from across the country. More than 500 volunteers have devoted over 100,000 hours to Lifetouch Memory Mission projects.
School building in Guatemala
Lifetouch is partnering with Guatemala-based Hug It Forward and the local community to build a school consisting of “bottle classrooms.” Hug It Forward has been building educational infrastructures using plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash or eco-bricks since 2009. Bottle classrooms are built using the established method of post-and-beam construction. The foundations, columns, and beams are made from concrete reinforced with iron rebar. Instead of cinder blocks, the eco-bricks are used to fill the wall. The schools are expected to last 100 years.
In addition to building the school, volunteers will also take personal portraits of the community’s K-6th grade school children. The photos will be delivered in person on the last day of the mission trip. These photos will be the first-ever portraits taken within this community.