Giving Hope to the Future through Education

    About Us: An Overview
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"We are not put on this earth just for ourselves, but are placed here for each other."
                                                                                           - Theodore Reik

Student in Don Pancho
Our Mission
To improve the quality of and access to education in Guatemala, and cultivate interconnectedness between the peoples of Guatemala and the United States.
For the expanded statement of our mission, philosophy, core beliefs and core values, please see our Mission and Philosophy Statement.

Children in El Arado
Who We Serve
serves children, teachers and communities in Guatemala by providing school improvement grants to rural schools in some of its most poverty-impacted villages. We also distribute scholarships for students committed to furthering their education, and support the establishment of after-school learning centers in communities where the lack of adult/parent literacy makes it difficult for children to receive adequate educational support in their homes.

In addition, we offer a variety of services for students or groups from the United States who wish to experience Guatemala through a combination of volunteer service and study in our Service and Study Abroad (SAGE) program. Finally, through our  School-to-School Partnerships we provide educational materials and curriculum units for schools in the United States who wish to develop a working partnership with a school in Guatemala.

Children in Cerro Nino
Our History
The original idea for Avivara grew out of the experiences of three educators, two from the United States and one from Guatemala. Begun informally in 2007, Avivara and its Guatemalan affiliate, Asociacion Avivara, achieved legal status as registered non-profit charitable corporations in 2008 in both the U.S. and Guatemala. Throughout 2009, Avivara continued to expand its network of supported Guatemalan schools, the number of students receiving scholarships, and the number of students being served in its after-school learning centers. For additional information on what has been accomplished by Avivara since its inception, please refer to our more detailed History of Avivara, our Blackboard (Newsletter) Archives and/or our Annual Reports.
Child collecting wood in Santiago Atitlan

Our Rationale

Guatemala, while not the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still ranked significantly below its other Latin American neighbors in terms of levels of poverty, lack of economic opportunity, educational progress, health care, nutrition, environmental degradation, and ongoing discrimination against its indigenous Mayan population. It also suffered greatly during its 36 year long civil war (1960-1996), where over 200,000 people were murdered or disappeared, and nearly 1.5 million out of a population of its then 8 million were displaced from their villages and homes. We have chosen to focus our efforts in Guatemalan because of its long history of oppression and exploitation by outside groups and an internal economic elite, its current economic situation, and because of the courage, dignity and tenacity exhibited by the poor of Guatemala in trying to overcome the challenges that face them.

Also, we believe strongly that education is one of the most effective and respectful mechanisms to break the cycle of poverty and help the people of  Guatemala confront the many challenges facing their country. For a more comprehensive analysis of the current situation in Guatemala, please refer to Poverty in Guatemala: A World Bank Study.

Pre-school children in El Yalu
Governance and Administration
Avivara is actually composed of two legally distinct organizations that share a common mission and philosophy. Avivara is a non-profit U.S. corporation and 501(c)(3) public charity registered with the State of Washington and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. It has primary responsibility for fund-raising, general budget oversight and long-range planning for the organization as a whole.

In Guatemala, Asociacion Avivara is a tax-exempt non-governmental organization (NGO) registered with the Guatemalan government and is primarily responsible for the allocation and administration of our grants to schools, distributing student scholarships, providing support to after-school learning centers, and coordinating our Service and Study Abroad Program (SAGE).
For documentation of our legal and tax-deductible public charity status in both the United States and Guatemala, please refer to the Corporate Documents section of our website.

While each organization is governed by its respective Board of Directors, they work in close collaboration and are supported by a shared Administrative Staff and the efforts of a number of volunteers.  For additional information on how contributions are accounted for and utilized, please refer to our documents on Standards for Charitable Accountability, our Annual Reports or our annual Financial Statements.

Girl Digging in Garden

How You Can Get Involved

We are capable of carrying out our mission only to the extent that people are willing to help us financially. Our most significant source of revenue is from individual donations. If you are interested in contributing to our programs, please click on the Donate to Avivara link which can be found in the upper (or lower) right hand corner of any page on our website. Because of our status as a 501(c)(3) public charity, all contributions to Avivara are tax-deductible in the U.S. as permissible by law.

We also encourage individuals or groups to support our work by organizing a L.I.F.E (Legendary Independent Fund-raising Events) event. These are fun, community building activities that also help bring in additional donations and raise awareness of Avivara and its programs. 

Equally important, however, is the necessity for us to keep expanding awareness of our programs in your community. Please spread the word about what we are doing. This can be done by referring people to our website, to follow us on Facebook, on our Avivara Blog, or by encouraging them to sign up to receive our e-mail newsletter, The Blackboard.

Through your support we are able to provide improved educational opportunities in some of the most poverty-impacted villages in Guatemala, thus giving greater voice to the voiceless as Guatemala continues to struggle toward achieving basic human rights and greater equality of opportunity for its many citizens.
"Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow."
                                      -Thornton Wilder

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