Volunteer in Guatemala!
Work alongside the women of UPAVIM in creating lasting change for their families and their community. Our volunteers come from all over the world to offer their services and go home with an appreciation of Guatemalan life and culture, a gratifying feeling of accomplishment, and excitement from seeing all Guatemala has to offer. International living experiences are life changing and our volunteers often go home to new career paths or further their studies at university in something newly inspired from their experience.
For more information, please contact Rachel Disbrow our Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
The children at UPAVIM were so often delighted by the smallest things, but what they needed most was a hug, a little attention, and someone to listen to them. That is what made volunteering for me at UPAVIM so highly rewarding. I planned to stay for half a year, but I stayed for a full year and I keep going back when I can. It was an amazing year, full of intense experiences I never would have missed.
No day was the same, so many highlights as well as the touching, personal, and trying stories from the children and women. I learned so much, for me it was like a winning lottery ticket to end up at Upavim. I can recommend volunteering at UPAVIM to anyone who wants to take some time to help a group of very inspiring people.
One of the greatest gifts I ever received was the opportunity to teach a neighborhood girl who was prevented from attending school to learn to read and write because of her physical disabilities – to be literate was something her parents had wanted to do, but were not able. Receiving letters from her in the following years touched me in ways that words cannot describe. Volunteering at UPAVIM and living in the community is an experience that I will never forget.
Volunteers live in modest rooms with an outdoor living area and garden on the roof of UPAVIM’s building. There is also a fully equipped kitchen and wifi. The roof is a place for volunteers to relax and unwind after work, whether by reading, skyping family, or socializing. Over the years, volunteers have worked in a variety of programs including the After-School Tutoring Center, English program, or with the Artisan Crafts program- depending on our needs and the volunteer's interest.
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.
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.
On weekends, volunteers can explore Guatemala City, take the two-hour bus ride to tourist-friendly Antigua, hangout with UPAVIMAS (the women of UPAVIM), and much more. Week-long school vacations in April and June offer volunteers an opportunity to travel more extensively throughout Guatemala and Central America.
Volunteers living on the roof pay the communal bank around $15 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.
Lunch is provided by the school kitchen during the week. Breakfast and dinner are 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.
The rooftop of the UPAVIM building where our volunteers stay has:
3 bedrooms with bunk beds
Sinks to wash dishes and clothing
A bathroom and shower (with heated water!)
A beautiful garden