Guatemalan Thrift Stores Project
To address financial shortfalls and assist orphanages in Guatemala with basic needs, Orphan Logistics & Relief initiated a new project. By design, it needed to help sustain the orphanages for the long run, rather than provide some small stipend of short term assistance. We also recognized that any program we initiated had to benefit the surrounding communities as well, if to achieve any degree of success.
In looking for a project, we came to the realization that in Guatemala, the cost of good quality clothing is often beyond the means of most of the population. On many of our trips, we were surprised to see the markets and vendors in both cities and small towns selling used clothing at a brisk pace.
That observation coupled with the knowledge that in the U.S. used clothing eclipses most all other items donated, we came to realize the genesis of our Thrift Stores Project.
Working in partnership, OLR collects gently used clothing in the U.S. for shipment to Guatemala. Once in country, we arrange for delivery of the clothing to our participating orphanages, were they in turn take up the marketing and sale of the clothes. At one orphanage deep in the interior, volunteers and older orphans will be utilized to sell the clothing items in street-side market stalls. Another orphanage plans to set up shop in a room just off their entrance, and utilize existing staff.
Regardless of how the clothes are sold, we anticipate the sale of each item to net between 1 to 2 dollars, or 7 to 15 quetzals in equivalent local currency. By setting a low price point, we reduce the need for marketing, relying instead on word of mouth. The price will also insure that all segments of the community will be able to afford the clothing, earning profits and good will in equal installments for the orphanages.
In addition to assisting the participating orphanages, we plan to make any surpluses in our clothing shipments available to other orphanages in the region, to clothe their children without cost.