Empowered Women Grow Communities

UPAVIM’s Mission: to support the women of La Esperanza in their fight for better economic, healthcare and educational opportunities for themselves, their families and their community.

The Children’s Center (1994-present)

The Children’s Center Program was founded in 1994 by the members of UPAVIM to provide childcare to the working mothers of UPAVIM and to the community. The program now houses a Montessori daycare and preschool.

Dr. Lilian Moncada Davidson, professor at Queens College in New York, trained several members of UPAVIM in the Montessori method to initiate the program. Additionally, all of our teachers received training in nutrition. In the following years, the teachers have continued their studies in the United States, El Salvador, and in various workshops in Guatemala. The Kellogg Foundation financed a trip for two cooperative members to travel to Brazil to observe a similar project. The Montessori teachers are fortunate to receive on-going assistance and material donations from Montessori trained volunteers that come through UPAVIM as well as an annual training by Natanya Diamant, an experienced Montesorri teacher from the United States.


The children who enter the center are from families with working parents and range in age from 45 days to 5 years.

The daycare staff is required to be trained in the Montessori method and early childhood stimulation and nutrition. There are currently 6 members of UPAVIM working with about 70 children in the daycare and Montessori preschool. The Montessori program is one of great pride for the women of UPAVIM as a Montessori education is generally only available for the wealthy families located far from La Esperanza in the city’s center

The Children’s Center opens its doors from 7:00am to 5:00pm. The parents pay a monthly fee, with UPAVIM members paying a reduced amount. The expenses of the Children’s Center are covered by proceeds from the handmade Fair Trade crafts department and partially by fees paid by the families.

A special thanks to all the volunteers and teachers who have donated their time, money and resources to training and supporting our one of a kind Montessori program!