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45 Reviews
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January 18, 2014

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January 18, 2014

Avivara is doing hard and much needed work in Guatemala. I am connected to Avivara as a friend, volunteer, donor, and person similarly interested in social and economic justice in Guatemala. Helping young people, particularly in rural areas, access meaningful education is critical for improvement of the humans rights situation in Guatemala and all of Latin America. It is not complicated--knowledge is power, as it always will be. Education for young Guatemalans means better understanding the history and political context of their country and current injustices. It probably means being able to analyze and criticize and communicate dissent more effectively. Avivara works hard, uses resources efficiently, deeply loves the teachers and students they help, and is one of the most dedicated and passionate non-profits I have ever seen. Avivara changes kids lives, helps teachers, and ultimately is improving social justice in Guatemala.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

October 17, 2013

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October 17, 2013

It gives me both pleasure and pride to contribute to Avivara. I earnestly believe that empowering local Guatemalans to help their friends and neighbors improve their lives through education is a wonderful gift and essential to improving the lives of those in impoverished countries.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not rock the boat.

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Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Likely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 8, 2013

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October 8, 2013

I have worked as a volunteer for Avivara since its inception in 2008. During that time I have watched it grow from a very small organization working with only one school in rural Guatemala and providing scholarships to two students, to now working with over a dozen rural schools and providing scholarships to over 120 students attending school from junior high to university. With the leadership and support of a dedicated Board of Directors, Avivara has been able in its six years of existence to raise and distribute over $350,000 to its Guatemalan programs. I have seen firsthand how this support has given hope to teachers in the rural underfunded schools, and allowed rural children complete their studies and gain employment as teachers, bookkeepers, nurses, hotel managers and soon, doctors. With its administrative and fundraising expenses at less than 8% of its total expenditures, Avivara uses its donations very effectively. I believe deeply in the mission of Avivara and its way of addressing poverty in Guatemala that empowers and gives dignity to its peoples.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Simply find more donors and volunteers to expand the reach of its programs.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 7, 2013

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October 7, 2013

My husband and I had the opportunity to work with one of the schools Avivara sponsors. The administration, teachers and students could not have been more open, caring and appreciative of our teaching efforts. This organization does a tremendous amount of good for schools in indigenous areas of Guatemala. Avivara works with the schools to provide resources that the schools themselves have determined that they need. Their overhead is amazingly low with only one paid employee. The founders do not take a salary and donate so much time and their personal resources to the organization. They are inspirational!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 6, 2013

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1 previous review
March 21, 2012

Avivara's multi-pronged effort is aimed at making a long-term, sustainable difference in the health and education of the Guatemalan people. This non-profit is run on a shoestring administrative budget... more

October 6, 2013

I have been giving to them since 2009, and do so with complete trust that they stretch each dollar to the max. I spent two weeks in Guatemala with Avivara, visiting their schools and witnessing their success. Gustavo, Anne, and Gary are incredibly smart, talented and dedicated educators. They work relentlessly to provide a better environment for the poorest students in Guatemala, which may include providing school supplies, hot meals, and educating the teachers (who themselves have been poorly educated).

A donation to Avivara is the best use of your money. I try to steer 90% of my donations to Avivara, even though I work with several non-profits in my region and make occasional donations to them. I want to improve the world, and my money goes a lot further in Guatemala, especially in the hands of Avivara. Just like if I want to protect the environment, I'd have a lot more global influence with my donations by conserving land in the Amazon rather than near my residence in California.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do nothing. They are as good as it gets!

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 21, 2012

Avivara's multi-pronged effort is aimed at making a long-term, sustainable difference in the health and education of the Guatemalan people. This non-profit is run on a shoestring administrative budget, with almost no overhead, no advertising, and minimal fundraising. Basically, you are guaranteed that nearly all of your money is going to aid students who really, really need an extra helping hand to give them the chance to escape systemic poverty. My wife and I saw this first hand, as we spent two years traveling around the worlds, sometimes working with non-profits. Through a mutual connection we found Avivara. We stayed with Gary and Ann for two weeks and learned all about their program. We were incredibly impressed with all aspects of Avivara. Gary and Ann are retired educators from Washington, who have dedicated their lives to this cause. They, together with Gustavo, empower the local teachers with better training, teaching tools and school supplies. They work with the community to provide hot breakfast every morning so that the students can focus on their school work. Avivara also provides scholarships to students for continuing education. Most school children drop out between the 2nd and 6th grades. The Avivara scholarships help the family with the burden of sending children to a middle school or high school, which typically requires a daily bus ride, new books, and other school supplies. Avivara also runs a local after-school program in their headquarters. This is the single best non-profit I have seen. Your dollar goes a long way in Guatemala, but that's no reason to be stingy with your donations.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Why did you make your donation at this time?

We make donations to Avivara for several reasons. First, we do it because we know the money is needed and Avivara will spend it wisely and with powerful results. We also donate to Avivara as a gift, instead of giving physical goods for a wedding or birthday. Finally, we donate to set an example that if even people like us (who are technically below the US poverty line) can donate, then our friends and family can do the same.

October 6, 2013

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October 6, 2013

We chose Avivara as the recipient of an annual fundraising event we hold called Ride for Literacy. The organizations we choose are always from Guatemala as our dear son Luis was born there.

2 years ago, while researching all of the many literacy groups in GT, Avivara stood out. Their
approach to literacy is quite unique in its scope. We appreciate how their focus is directed on the youth both while still in school through teacher education, after school programs, and school renovation projects...as well as to support older students in continuing their education through scholarships and having personal relationships with each of the recipients.

We had the opportunity to visit Gary and Ann Austin last year while in Guatemala. They are truly living their values and prioritize their work at every turn.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them to get more on the ground assistance through volunteerism or more funding to be able to hire more people.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 6, 2013

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October 6, 2013

A focused non-profit dedicated to education where education is hard to find, the hill of Guatemala. Low overhead and quality participants.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

it seems to run well as is...

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 6, 2013

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October 6, 2013

I am a retired educator and current photographer. I was the guest of Avivara in Feb. 2013 and was able to visit 4 of the 11 schools that they are assisting while I was in Guatemala. These schools were in very poor remote mountain villages where access to quality education has not been a priority. Because of the sustained effort to empower the teaching staffs at these schools, not by dictating what they should do, but rather by listening to the needs of the individual schools expressed by the teachers and administrators, Avivara has made a lasting, highly positive impact on the lives of the students and the school community in these villages. Contributions such as providing desks and chairs to a school where the students were sitting on the floor, securing white boards where there were none in any class room, donating computer labs and software so that the students can learn computer skills and connect to the greater world and no longer be isolated in their villages, to bringing visiting teachers from the US to give science demonstrations lessons, and providing current textbooks and supplies to classes where the teachers had nothing provided by the country's Department of Education. Avivara is also providing scholarships to students that have a desire to pursue a college education and bring that knowledge back to improve their communities.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would change nothing. Their mission and the policies that they have established for how the organization functions has been well thought out and implemented. This organization has sought out local Guatemalans to serve on their board of directors and act as consultants and liaisons with the schools that they work with.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 6, 2013

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October 6, 2013

I spent about a week volunteering with Avivara in one of their many schools. The more time I spent talking to the children and teachers, the more I realized what an amazing job they really do. From providing school supplies and books to building libraries and bathrooms, Avivara is an extremely important non-profit in the highlands of Guatemala. Apart from funding schools, they also provide scholarships for high school and university students. Avivara manages to give all of tees services while working on a pretty tight budget. Very little money goes to the administration. However, the positive changes that they have made are unmeasurable.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I only wish that they had a larger budget to work with.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 5, 2013

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October 5, 2013

I am an adult who co-led a group of teenagers to Guatemala this last summer and we spent a few days volunteering with Avivara. I was incredibly impressed with this organization. Gary, Ann and Gustavo have a deep passion for promoting education among the youth of Guatemala which is evident in every action they do. Their priority of working with individual schools and youth to promote each ones' goals, instead of imposing their own ideas demonstrates clearly the love and respect that they have for those they serve. Additionally, their emphasis on not just volunteering but on educating the visiting youth on the systemic causes of injustice, especially as they pertain to the education system in Guatemala, gives context to the service they are providing. Trips and volunteer opportunities were well-organized and run and very safe and efficient. Working with them was an incredible experience.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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