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  • Writer's pictureUpavim Community Development Foundation

Three Generations of UPAVIM Women

On the day we visit Clara and Ingrid’s family, Clara is making fresh tortillas on the stove while her granddaughter, Jimena, a student at UPAVIM’s Montessori elementary school, is sitting at the kitchen table, following along to virtual class on a tablet. Jimena’s older brother is in the living room on his phone, attending virtual school as well. Their mother, Ingrid sits to the side, as she finishes sewing 20 Unicorn Christmas Ornaments for a recent UPAVIM Crafts order.

“My mother is able to stuff the ornaments and I sew them and add on the details,” Ingrid says, explaining how she and her mother work as a team for UPAVIM Crafts orders.

Clara, her daughter Ingrid, and Ingrid's two children, all live together in La Esperanza, close to UPAVIM. Not only do they work as a team for UPAVIM Craft’s orders, but they also share in the cooking, cleaning, and raising of Ingrid's two children.

Clara's ex-husband was an alcoholic and as a result, she and her daughter (a single mother herself) had to become self-sufficient in order to take care of each other and provide for Ingrid's children. UPAVIM allows them to do that - providing them both with work and with free quality education for the children.

Ingrid has worked with UPAVIM for over 15 years. She has worked in almost all of the programs: as a seamstress, a hand-embroiderer, as a daycare teacher, and as a nurse in the UPAVIM health clinic. Out of all the jobs in UPAVIM, she loves working in the daycare best.

Her face lights up talking about it saying, "you learn a lot working with children, each child is different".

Unfortunately, due to COVID, the daycare center is closed and Ingrid and her mother are working from home on crafts orders for the moment. But she hopes that the daycare center will be able to open soon as she sees the great need for parents to have a safe place to leave their children while they work. Currently, parents in the community have to find people with whom they can leave their children so that they can continue working. She says it's not the same, “the children aren't as safe and just don't learn as much”. Ingrid loves working with children and hopes to be back at the daycare soon if the government allows it to open again.

Ingrid's two children are both enrolled in UPAVIM's Montessori elementary school, and are able to follow along with online classes during the pandemic. The majority of children in La Esperanza neighborhood are dependent on the public school system. During the pandemic, students in public school only receive virtual classes for 1.5hrs per week. However, thanks to UPAVIM's non-profit elementary school, UPAVIM students receive daily online classes with their same teachers, along with technological support to allow them to continue their education at home. Ingrid's children have not fallen behind in their education as other students have in the Guatemalan public school system. (Here's a great article to read about the current state of education in Guatemala during COVID)

Ingrid shares that UPAVIM's programs help so many people in the community- the scholarships for kids, the Montessori elementary school, the jobs for women, and the health clinic which provides emergency care right there in the community- are all so important for families in La Esperanza.

Aside from working in the daycare, Ingrid says she misses being able to take excursions with her co-workers. Before the pandemic, they would organize yearly trips to the beach for UPAVIM women workers and their families. She says she misses the beach- a sentiment that many of us can relate to.

Clara and Ingrid are just one of many families that depend on UPAVIM for their families' survival. We are continually inspired by the strength of the Mothers that are part of the UPAVIM family and we love seeing them thrive!

Will you help us continue to support families like Ingrid and Clara's?

This Mother's Day, gift an UPAVIM Mother in honor of your own! For any donation of $25 or more, we'll send an e-card for your Mother sharing your donation gift made in her name.

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