As anyone will tell you, the Remote Year experience is multidimensional. Of course, there is work and there is travel, but beyond those two key aspects lies a deeper factor that runs through the RY community and binds them together: a search for deeper meaning and purpose.
Since the start, Remote Year communities have made it a point to leave a positive impact in the communities around the world that have welcomed them with open arms. Some local projects have included raising funds for a no-kill animal shelter in Croatia, providing skills like sales and marketing for an organization that provides shelter for women and children called Wildflower Homes in Thailand and working with Projecto Lá Tinha in Portugal to provide low-income children with an opportunity to create cameras from recycled materials and learn about sustainability.
One community, Remote Year Yugen, has decided to take this idea of local service projects and kick it up a notch.
Scratch that - a lot of notches.
The idea started when Paul Nolan, who has a background in project management and had completed housing development work in the past, brought up the potential for a positive impact project with Matt Williams in Kyoto, Japan. Matt, who has a background in International Development, was interested, and they began to discuss ways in which they could create a positive influence during their time on Remote Year. The idea quickly developed.
“Given this amazing opportunity of being fortunate enough to travel the world, I almost felt like I had to do more to give back,” Paul said. “I discussed with Matt potential ways we could help in the communities we are visiting, in particular a building project which we could physically get involved in in Bogotá, Colombia.”
“In just three weeks, we put plan to action and decided to create a positive impact,” Paul said. “The goal, by working with the reputable company of TECHO, would be to fundraise for 58 homes in one of the most impoverished areas in Bogotá.”
Through their determination, Yugen Build was born.
58 Houses for 58 Yugens
Undaunted by their aspirational goal, Paul and Matthew put out the call to the rest of their group and were able to achieve some level of involvement from 98% of the Remote Year Yugen community.
So far, Yugens have generously donated their time, skills and funds. They have supported the project through marketing efforts, web design, sponsorship, 3D modelling, logistics and organizational coordination with TECHO. In addition to working in full-time careers and running their own businesses, Yugens have taken it upon themselves to develop a project that can have a lasting effect on hundreds of lives in Bogotá.
“We chose Bogotá because it’s one of the cities we’re visiting this year.” said Matt. “ We learned about the huge number of people living in poverty and saw an opportunity to get more deeply involved in this community. Our goal in each city has been to go beyond just being a tourist, and this allows us to do something incredibly meaningful and memorable.”
As is so characteristic of Remote Year, this community is extremely tight-knit and committed to supporting each other in personal and professional goals. Yugen Build is simply an extension of that commitment. In fact, the number of houses that Yugen Build is setting out to construct - 58 - represents the original size of the Yugen community.
“We’ve set out to complete the largest, single-scale build ever completed by TECHO Colombia,” Matt said. “We’re providing so much more than a house. TECHO also offers community development, adult skills training, childhood education and more, enabling these families to have a better life not just a roof over their head.”
Throughout their Remote Year journey, Yugens have found that their definition of “home” has developed. It can be found not only within four walls, but also in the people that you love and the communities that you’re a part of. The goal of Yugen Build is not only to assemble 58 houses for families fleeing violence in Colombia, but to create a sense of security and comfort for those who need it most.
How to Get Involved
The Yugen Build goal of constructing 58 homes for impoverished families in Bogotá is a lofty one. In order to serve these families and provide them with a safe, comfortable environment in which to live, Remote Year Yugen must raise $116,000.
Yugen Remotes are working to meet their fundraising goal of $116,000 through personal connections and corporate sponsorships, but there is still a need for individual contributions from across the Nation and beyond. Not only will your donation go toward funding the construction of a home, it will also allow each family to attend workshops, get job training, attain health education and take advantage of other development opportunities so they can pursue a better life.
If you are interested in donating, or just learning more about Yugen Build, visit their website at YugenBuild.com.