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Suzan Eleveld


Suzan is from Amstelveen, the Netherlands. She graduated from the Hogeschool van de Kunsten in Utrecht in graphic autonomous art. After her education she started giving carpentry workshops to girls at an organization that provided technique lessons by and for women.


'I think it is important that the carpentry courses at the project in Alotenango are equally accessible for boys and girls. For example, I also think it is very important that there is a woman as an example, which is why I am very happy with my assistant Abi.'  

Suzan always had the dream to make a long journey on her own. When she was 38 she went to Guatemala to travel. With a large backpack and a plumbing bag with 10 kg. second-hand tools (donated by the Gered Gereedschap foundation) and the idea of giving carpentry lessons, she set out. This went so well that she returned quickly, with another chest full of tools. For a number of years she continued traveling up and down and bringing tools. To cover her expenses she became a tour guide, and so she alternated her job as a tour guide in Central America and Mexico and giving carpentry lessons in Guatemala.


In 2002 Suzan decided that she wanted to create something sustainable, and so she ended up in Alotenango and started her own carpentry project there. Suzan started teaching at a school in Alotenango. It was a big decision for Susan to move to Guatemala for half the year. She was scared to leave everyone behind but it was her dream and she decided to go for it. Suzan continued her project with sponsors (acquaintances, friends and family). After a few years she started her own workshop with not only students from the school but from the whole village. The project has continued to grow and in 2012 a foundation was set up in the Netherlands to support the project in finding donors.

'I think it is important that the young people can also develop themselves personally here in the project. It is important that they feel at ease, that they learn to ask questions and that there is a safe, pleasant atmosphere'. 

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