The mission of our organization, UPAVIM, is to empower the women of our community, giving them an opportunity to improve the quality of life, for themselves and for their families. We pursue this mission by giving them access to education, employment opportunities, daycare services for their children, health care services, and programs for personal and professional development.
We are a group of approximately 88 women who live in the marginalized communities of La Esperanza, El Mezquital and Villa Lobos I and II, in Zone 12 of Guatemala City. We are all mothers and homemakers. Some of us are widows, some of us have been abandoned by our husbands or we confront alcoholism and/or domestic violence in our families. Many of us are the sole providers of economic support for our families.
We initiated this group in 1988, partnering with a Sister Parish group from Bemidji, Minnesota. Our partnership began with the development of a Growth Monitoring program. The problems and needs of our community became transparent through our contact with the people of this area when evaluating their children’s growth and progress and we knew we needed to do more. It spurred us soon after to decide to create products to sell for income for us as individuals as well as to generate funds for programs we wanted to start. We developed our handicrafts business, making it our goal to sell to the national and international markets. These early efforts have permitted us to become a self-sustaining Association and to advance toward our dreams.
We would like to thank all the friends of UPAVIM around the world who have come in and out of our lives over the years and enabled us to move forward in our vision. We never could have succeeded and achieved what we have without everyone’s support and encouragement. Our hope is that we will continue to have people who understand our dreams and hopes for a better life and want to continue on that journey with us.