Ann, Gary, and Gustavo are dedicated to the people of Guatemala. They create a relationship with the entire community - students, teachers, and families. They empower the community to determine the needs, set the priorities, and then assist where those needs are. Awesome organization dedicated to education and justice for all!
As an organization that has worked in partnership with Avivara on the ground in Guatemala, I can highly recommend this nonprofit. They are highly transparent, very well organized and diligent about ensuring that donations go directly to their projects. Avivara truly deserves to be a top-rated nonprofit!
Avivará is an exceptional NGO working towards higher quality education in Guatemala. In a world where many think they have the answer and show up to deliver the solution, Avivará centers their work on an active consultation process with locals to co-design programs that make sense for each unique context.
Beyond their work in Guatemala, they also make a significant effort to educate their supporters about the complex dynamics of poverty in Guatemala. This includes sharing stories from their participants along with newspaper articles and inviting people to visit and participate in their work first-hand.
I highly recommend this organization for donors, volunteers, and those generally interested in education in Guatemala.
Avivara, with only 3 people on their staff, two of whom I think work with little or no monetary pay and their key change agent, a Guatemalan teacher/administrator, are doing more to support education in rural communities here than any other organization in town, including the national/local government. They listen to the needs of the teachers; they respond. They train the teachers, many of whom have never had any form of real staff development. They supply schools with materials, with small, vibrant libraries, with art lessons where Ann models great teaching practices with the local classroom teacher, often with more than 30 in their class and certainly no sink to clean the brushes or their hands. They work tirelessly to empower students via scholarships, counsel, smiles and a more well equipped, responsive classroom than most public school students in rural Guatemala and many urban ones too, will ever know. I love Avivara and I admire the work they do, ever to quietly, humbly and significantly here. I love showing up at their end of year celebrations and hearing the testimonies, the stories and the endless thanks the hundreds of children and their families they are working for and with. This nonprofit is a model of true grassroots empowerment for all of us and "far exceeds expectations"! Thank you, Avivara, for being present in ways that so matter.
One of the unique things about this program is that they ask the teachers what they need to be more effective. Gary Teale and Ann Austin don't assume they know what the teachers need but by inquiring they empower the teachers. They also provide teacher training and teaching supplies to support the teachers in their classrooms.
I am impressed that they also meet with parents to motivate them to support the education of their children.
While on an educational research trip to the Antigua area I had the chance to meet Gary, Ann, and Gustavo, Avivara's co-founders. I was Immediately impressed with their inspired dedication to their mission of serving the indigenous rural areas with much needed educational supplies and infrastructure support. After observing Ann's multi-level homework-helper after-school program in San Pedro, I joined Ann, Gary, and Gustavo on a field trip to three of the rural schools Avivara supports. This experience left an indelible impression of the way beauty and poverty coexist in rural Guatemala. The children and teachers were kind and generous and gladly extended open arms to our somewhat disruptive visits. It became obvious that Avivara's help in these impoverished places was lovingly appreciated and is making a significant difference in these student's lives and in their teacher's ability to more effectively promote learning in the classroom. With Guatemalan public school system drastically underfunded, particularly in the indigenous impoverished areas, Avivara has stepped up and provided crucial supplies, support and hope for a better future for the most needy. Education can be a way out of impoverishment and Avivara is in place and in a place to make that happen. There's much more work to be done.
I found Avivara while conducting field research for my master's dissertation. My dissertation is on education for impoverished children within Guatemala.
In the United States, we are told that if we work hard in school we can become anything. We also believe that education opens doors to a fantastic life. In guatemala however, many children, especially from impoverished rural areas can only hope for a few years of basic schooling before embarking on a lifetime of manual labor in the farmlands of guatemala. Projects like Avivara are now in place to help these children dream beyond their present means.
Avivara is an excellent nonprofit that tries its best to help children in complete poverty have better schools where there is a lack of funding. It was through Avivara that I was able to really understand the bigger picture. They connected me to several people for interviews and tours of three of the schools that they work with -- El Yalu, El Rosario, San Jose Pacul.
I am truly thankful for their help and the opportunities they provided me for my research. I hope in return my research can help the organization and the children which I have met while being here in Guatemala.