UPAVIM is an acronym for Unidas Para Vivir Mejor, “United For A Better Life.” This group of women lives in a squatter community named La Esperanza (“Hope”) on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Before being accepted as a working member of the cooperative, each woman must complete 32 volunteer hours. As a member, she must continue to volunteer two hours per week. For these women artisans, craft work is fit into a daily routine of child care, housework and volunteering in other programs at the UPAVIM community center. In addition to personal income, the artisans use money from the sales of handicrafts to run a Montessori Infant Education Center and Alternative Elementary School.
In 1989, UPAVIM was organized to offer much needed health and educational services within this community, where many families had fled from Guatemala’s civil war and overpopulation in the capital city. Since then, the organization has grown to include income generation programs, including handicraft training and production, a bakery, a soy product production, medical clinic, pharmacy, medical laboratory, growth monitoring program and tutoring program for families with limited choices.
Ten Thousand Villages purchases spiced trivets, ornaments and a mini-doll wreath from UPAVIM. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from UPAVIM since 1994.
- Artisan Products