One last goodbye from 5th graders after a green area restoration project - Mexicali, Baja Mexico  
 

About Us

Mission 

 

Via International provides paths to self-reliance for an interdependent worldWe integrate community development initiatives with education and voluntourism to build leadership and self-reliance in under-served communities.

 

Vision

 

We believe when people thrive, community thrives. We believe that human potential is enhanced through self-reliant activities that promote community development, food security, social justice, and human dignity. We believe that linking the resources and knowledge of students with the wisdom and ingenuity of the community creates a cultural exchange capable of raising awareness across the socioeconomic spectrum. We believe the reciprocal impact of these experiences results in lifelong transformation and value creation at all community levels.

 

Philosophy
 
Via supports local engagement as a participatory process in which individuals identify community needs and organize themselves to take the actions necessary to improve quality of life. It is not a linear process but a "caracol de desarrollo" or spiral of development that advances and retreats both individually and collectively...Slow and inclusive, integrated community development values patience, persistence, and respect and helps build paths to self-reliance for an interdependent world

Since 1975, Via has fostered community initiatives based on the ideals of sustainability and well-being that support local community members to teach nutrition, develop family gardens and address local environmental issues. What naturally evolved from this programming was a realization among participants that economic sustainability and well-being was needed to maintain quality of life improvements. As a result, micro-credit loans became an avenue to enhance family income as well as build community through solidarity loan groups. 

Via's expertise lies in developing relationships at the grassroots level and listening and responding to the needs of each community. As a result, much of our current programming has been initiated through the needs and desires expressed by project participants themselves. Other program areas developed through this participatory approach include a university-credentialed leadership education program as well as our educational travel programs that integrate and educate student visitors in community sustainability efforts.