16 Dec
  • By Theresa DeSouza
  • Cause in

UPAVIM English Program

Dear Friend,

Thank you for watching our video, and taking the time to hear our story.


UPAVIM (Unidas Para Vivir Mejor) is located in a slum on the outskirts of Guatemala City, in what is designated as a ‘red zone’ by the government. The term ‘red zone’ signifies a high level of violence and threat from gang activity. Slums arose as squatter settlements during the civil war of the 1980s when thousands of people fled from persecution in the countryside and crowded the city. Our community, La Esperanza, continues to suffer from many of the social problems that characterize marginalized populations including gang violence, discrimination against women, domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, child abuse, illiteracy, unemployment, malnutrition, insufficient health services, and a lack of suitable schools for our children.

The mission of UPAVIM is to empower women in La Esperanza by providing fair wages to support their families, and access to services that help improve their quality of life. Over the past 25 years, UPAVIM has grown from a small baby-weighing program to a women’s cooperative employing over 100 local women and making handmade fair-trade crafts sold around the world. The proceeds from these crafts pay the women’s salaries, fund UPAVIM’s community health clinic, and fund UPAVIM’s school, which includes a daycare, pre-school, and elementary school (K-6th). In addition, UPAVIM manages the first public library in the neighborhood, offers free English classes and tutoring for all ages, and runs a bakery and soy factory to provide fresh and affordable goods to the community.

In 2013, UPAVIM’s elementary school started offering a full-day English Immersion Program, providing students with a greater chance of gaining proficiency. Students are co-taught by a Guatemalan teacher and a native English speaker from 7:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. All subjects are taught in both Spanish and English, including S.T.E.M.-based science.

To continue and expand this program in the 2014 school year (January-October), we need to raise $25,000. This money will be used to:

  • Purchase school supplies:
    • Reading Books
    • Science Supplies
    • Art Supplies
    • Notebooks, Pencils, etc.
  • Pay salaries associated with the English Immersion Program including:
    • 7 Guatemalan teacher salaries
    • 1 Guatemalan Director salary
    • 5 native English teacher stipends

By receiving high-quality, bilingual education, the children of La Esperanza will be better equipped to compete for employment in Guatemala’s increasingly global economy. The English Immersion Program not only broadens the future education and employment opportunities, but it also nearly doubles the number of hours students are in school, providing them with a nurturing environment away from the gang violence that is rampant on the streets of La Esperanza.

When you make a donation to UPAVIM’s school, you are truly taking part in the transformation of this community. Please find out more by visiting www.upavim.org.

To donate securely using paypal, please click here, and include “UPAVIM School” in the comments line.

You can also send checks directly to our board member Janessa, at the following address:

Janessa Landeck
990 N.Pleasant Street Apt. D2
Amherst, MA 01002

*Please write your check out to “UPAVIM Community Development Foundation” and include “UPAVIM School” in the memo line.

If you have any questions, please contact us at fundraising@upavim.org.

From all of us at UPAVIM, thank you for your support and generosity!