An Overview of Our Program
Room and Board
Volunteers live on the roof of UPAVIM’s building. The roof is a place for volunteers to relax and unwind after work, whether by reading, skyping family, or socializing.
What’s on the roof?
- 3 bedrooms with bunk beds
- A kitchen
- Pilas (sinks to wash dishes and clothing)
- A bathroom and shower (with heated water!)
- A beautiful garden
What are meals like?
- Breakfast is each volunteer’s own responsibility.
- Lunch is provided by the school kitchen during the week.
- Dinner is made and shared by the volunteers during the week.
Volunteers buy groceries on the street outside of UPAVIM in small tiendas (corner stores) and at produce stands, or at La Torre (the big grocery store in the mall a short bus ride away).
How much does it cost?
Volunteers living on the roof pay into the communal bank around $25-$30 per month. This money is used to pay for things like toilet paper, gas, wifi, and food for communal dinners. Depending on what you prefer to eat, food for breakfast and weekends costs about $20 per week.
Conversational Spanish is necessary to communicate with the women and children of UPAVIM. Volunteers without an adequate background in Spanish are required to attend language school before volunteering. There are many language schools throughout Guatemala. They cost between $100 to $120 per week for one-on-one lessons and accommodations with a family. We can help you find a language school that fits your needs.
Volunteers have weekends off. There are many options for volunteers during their free time, including..
– Exploring Guatemala City
– Taking the 2 hour bus ride to tourist-friendly Antigua
– Sharing meals or partaking in other activities with Upavimas (the women of UPAVIM)
Week-long school vacations in April and June offer volunteers an opportunity to travel more extensively throughout Guatemala and Central America.
Although most volunteers have had few problems, others have been robbed or harassed both in and out of the community. As in any urban environment suffering from many social ills, crime does happen in La Esperanza. UPAVIM’s building is locked and surrounded by a wall and barbed wire. Volunteers are asked to use common sense concerning their safety.
With the rewards of working with children and young people also comes responsibility. The students look to the volunteers as role models, especially since they are often difficult to find in other aspects of their lives. For this reason, volunteers are not permitted to smoke in the community. You have the potential to make a great impact on children’s’ lives. Please keep this in mind, as well as the fact that your actions can have consequences for UPAVIM. Thank you for your interest. We look forward to you joining us as we work toward creating a better life for our families and community.