Sara Luz Ruiz
It’s a long story – as they always are! In short though, the reasons are quite simple: I can really identify with all the values that IOI holds and have always had faith in the areas in which it helps the community here on Isabela – ways that really matter! This is an organisation that focuses on social development, education and conservation – there are few organisations that focus on these three interlinking areas. Most just focus on one or the other but for me the combination of all three is what really makes IOI work. IOI is forward thinking, constantly growing and has the perfect combination of local and international.
My IOI role:
I started working for IOI in 2009 – that seems such a long time ago now! My role and responsibilities have grown hugely since starting. I started assisting the founder of IOI in a team of 3 in a small office with few amenities. Now we are a fantastic, growing team with wonderful volunteers and local partnerships. I am the local Director here and take ownership of all local partnerships, projects and strategies for IOI. I am the key local spokesperson and continue to explore and grow IOI’s reach in the community.
Life prior to IOI:
I arrived on Isabela in 2000 to help my brother with some family commitments. Whilst helping I soon realised that I needed and wanted more so I started working as a volunteer for the Charles Darwin Foundation. I helped develop and coordinate several key educational kids programs. After a year of volunteering I was taken on as a permanent member of staff where I continued to grow their educational and conservation programs to the local kids. One random sunny day I was walking along the main street (there aren’t that many here!) and I bumped into Johann. Whilst in conversation about life and work he told me that he was looking for a local person to help him coordinate things her for IOI. I knew there and then that it was the sort of challenge that I was after. The rest is history.
I have always been inspired by my family. I have a beautiful daughter and son and a lovely husband too….most of the time! My passions are the environment and animal welfare – good thing we live on the Galapagos Islands! We all love camping, eating and going on adventures together. I can’t complain…life is good!