UPAVIM was first started in 1988 with the initiative and help of U.S. citizen Barbara Lorraine, a group of 10 women decided to create handicrafts and sell them in national and international markets. Today, UPAVIM Crafts is a cooperative of approximately 80 women who live in marginalized communities on the outskirts of Guatemala City. These women are all mothers and homemakers, some are widows, some have been abandoned, and many are the sole providers of economic support for our families.
There are numerous challenges for healthy community growth in Guatemala City, comprising gang violence, illiteracy, unemployment, malnutrition (children and adults), alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, and lack of sufficient education for children. Despite these obstacles, the community where UPAVIM is located, La Esperanza (Hope), and the women of UPAVIM have kept their hope alive, and after twenty years their hard work and example are benefitting the communities.
The mission of UPAVIM is to empower the women of the community, giving them an opportunity to improve their quality of life, for themselves and for their families. We pursue this mission by giving them access to education, employment opportunities, daycare services for their children, health care services, and programs for personal and professional development.
UPAVIM today is an 80+ member cooperative association with 41 employees and more than 68 women (some also employees) working as seamstresses and doing handicrafts. The employees work as teachers, nurses, administrators, cooks, cleaners, secretaries, bakers, soy producers and a lab technician. UPAVIM has employees from outside the community, including a general manager and a full-time doctor.
For More information about UPAVIM Today, Click this link to visit their site.
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1623 E 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615
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