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!
In 2009, a group of friends incorporated the New Mayas Society in the State of Missouri to assist with funding and other projects for Centro De Formacion Nuevos Mayas ( School for New Mayas) in the town of Xix, El Quiche, Guatemala. www.newmayas.org. The school houses middle and secondary students who come from remote villages in the highlands, as well as students from Xix and nearby villages. We had associated ourselves with a non-profit in St. Louis MO, but found it to our benefit to work with Avivara, as the founders and administrators live in Guatemala. We could not be happier with this relationship. Funds are managed in a completely- professional manner; supporters are notified and thanked as the donations are received, and transfers are made on a schedule allowing both the school staff and our organization to plan. Knowing that we can turn to the Avivara staff in order to get updates on the social, political and cultural situation in Guatemala provides extra assurance that we are making good decisions about our support--in Avivara we we have highly-competent consultants on call. Mary Lois Sennewald: President, New Mayas Society.
Avivara put almost all of their fundraising into programs of grants to schools and scholarships for students. They have supported some students all the way to professional school! They work very effectively with Guatemalan educators.
Avivara is a really special non-profit - a partnership between the people of US and Guatemala where education is promoted and students are empowered in some of the most impoverished and forgotten areas in rural Guatemala. On a programmatic level, Avivara listens to the Guatemalan communities it serves using its funds very expediently, always evolving and adjusting to the needs of the Guatemalan community it works in, including adjusting for natural disasters. When Avivara commits to providing a scholarship for a child, they support that child all the way through college, if desired. It is an honor and privilege to serve on the Board and I believe Avivara is a great model of how a multi-national grassroots NGO can make a strong impact with small but dedicated team and resource base.
Avivara is a shining non-profit; clear, contextual, and impactful in its mission to to improve education in rural Guatemala and the communities in which they serve. Gary, Ann, Gustavo and the team are truly collaborative in their work with schools, local governments and other Guatemalan NGO’s to accomplish major projects (new classrooms, computer labs, school libraries, etc.) and improve children's lives through scholarships for education for over 90 students in the coming year. I am impressed by Avivara's strong management of resources, where impressively 94% of expenditures go towards programs and only 6% to administration and fundraising expenses. Avivara does a great job of regularly sharing updates, current events and historical education about Guatemala, the US, and our countries' interconnectedness. As a Boardmember, stakeholder and professional with experience in the field of International Development, it is a delight to steadily be enriched by the stories, inspiration and connection to the commitment of this NGO to improve education in Guatemala and the world.
I have visited the programs and people Avivara serves. It is an incredibly effective organization. They are diligent about using funding to make the most impact while also having the communities choose where they need assistance rather than imposing their own ideas.
My personal favorite program is their scholarship program. Teachers recommend students who have the personal drive to succeed in school, but lack the resources needed. Rather than dropping out in 3rd grade, Avivara will help a student with the cost of school until they graduate from high school. Then they become bread winners for their family and it breaks the cycle that often exists with poverty. Every month students have a meeting with Avivara staff. The parents, grandparents, and other family members are all on board to help the child succeed and everyone is grateful.
This is an amazing organization worth supporting. Every dollar makes a difference! Seeing all of this first-hand is why I am now a board member and a donor.
I serve on the Board of Avivara, and have since its inception. Over the years the organization has stayed true to its mission, and has proven its ability to alter lives in rural Guatemala through the possibilities of education. In the face of growth and success, Avivara remains remarkably efficient at utilizing contributions to achieve its aims; administration and fund raising costs are very low. By keeping in close contact with its scholarship recipients, for example, Avivara is able to provide encouragement and guidance to those individuals. This support helps to ensure the effective use of resources. The organization has supported a number of individuals into and through their university education - this would have been a nearly impossible goal for these individuals. Avivara changes lives, one at a time, through education.
I have been involved with Avivara since its founding. On a trip to Guatemala in 2007, just before Avivara was born, I met a young man at a school in a remote village. At that point he was about 14 years. As one child of many in a large family, he was expected to leave school at this age (or even sooner) to work in the fields to provide income for the family. But his obvious talent and love of learning had kept him in school longer than his siblings. This young man was one of Avivara's first scholarship recipients. Avivara supported him throughout his high school education, and then continued its support on into his university years. Soon to graduate with a degree in accounting, the astonishing success of this young man was only possible with the support of Avivara. Not only did Avivara provide the monetary support that allowed him to continue his education, but the organization met with him and his parents on a regular basis to ensure that he had the kind of global support needed for this radical departure from the life of field workers in Guatemala.
It is this actualization of possibility that gives Avivara a unique level of effectiveness. Lives are changed. With continued educational and personal transformations as these, the future of Guatemala will eventually be changed.
Avivara is a very hands on, high impact organization doing some incredible work in rural areas of Guatemala. For over 7 years Avivara has provided funding and educational opportunities for promising students who otherwise would likely not have been able to continue their education. Today almost 90 students are able to continue their studies because of Avivara support, ranging from grade school to university levels. In addition, Avivara funding supports rural schools directly with teachng materials and training by the mostly volunteer Avivara staff, who are all trained educators. Avivara is exremely efficient, with about 94% of funds going directly to programs in 2014. If you believe that education is a key element to improving lives, I urge you to support Avivara.
Avivara is an organization dedicated to improving the educational opportunities for poor Guatemalan children who likely would otherwise not be able to attend school. I have known the founders, Gary Teale and Ann Austin, for over 25 years, and can say from firsthand knowledge they are very qualified educators and dedicated to improving the lives of less fortunate individuals. In Guatemala, they have teamed up with a local Guatemalan educator, Gustavo Valle, who works with Avivara to identify schools that have critical needs and students who have shown interest and potential, but who's families cannot afford to have them attend school. For almost 3 years now Avivara has been providing financial asistance to those schools and children in rural villages of Guatemala. As a board member, I know that Avivara adheres to the Better Business Bureau's Standards for Charitable Accountability, has very low administration and fund-raising expenses compared to the program expenditures (89% to programs, 11% to admin and fund-raising), and has a strong commitment to keeping donors informed through the newsletter.