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UPAVIM (Unidas Para Vivir Mejor, United for a Better Life)

March 31, 2020

To whomever out there is concerned!

If you are like me, you are struggling to decide what is the best response to the enemy at our door. Because of my age, they say I should stay at home and away from other folks. Not fun, not being able to be a part of the solution. I am writing to you because I am looking for something I can do and this is what I have decided is it. Sitting here at the table, I can share with you a way you can help marginalized women in Guatemala from the safety of your home.

I know some of you have purchased UPAVIM (Unidas Para Vivir Mejor, United for a Better Life) crafts from one of our fall or spring sales. Before this crisis, UPAVIM was providing a Montessori day care, elementary school, clinic, medical lab, pharmacy, tutoring program, community library, rooftop playground, and was producing crafts giving women work and helping to fund the school. All of this is now on hold.

The new president of Guatemala has shut down all schools and companies like UPAVIM that are producing crafts and clothing; therefore, the women are not allowed to come into the building to work. While this may be necessary, it leaves our women and teachers without an income. Many are always on the edge even with the salaries and monies they make working together in the UPAVIM fair trade co-op. The UPAVIM Community Development Foundation in the states is working to help provide financial help, but their funds will only last for so long.

Our distributor, Alisa Woofter, is loaded with products as UPAVIM had just sent her a shipment and has another one partially ready to go. However, her wholesale sales, which are the bulk of UPAVIM’s sales, are close to non-existent as of several weeks ago.

This spring, and it looks like summer, all of the events where I was going to sell have been canceled. These sales and the ones in the fall earn the monies that support a large portion of the school costs for the coming year. The best thing you can do for our women right now is to purchase any gifts you might want to give to friends and family from This will help to keep paying the women and our teachers until the crisis is over. If and when you do this, use this code FAITH229 and you will get a 10% discount. You can also have your gift sent directly to the person of your choice.

When you buy from UPAVIM, you accomplish 8 things with every purchase:

1. Income to the 37 UPAVIM artisans that produce the products.

2. Income to the 6 women who prepare, check, and ship the products to the states and to our stores in Guatemala.

3. Income for the 15 weavers that produce the fabric used for crafts.

4. Income for the many offsite artisans that produce our pottery, recycled wooden utensils and crosses, women that produce the clay crèches and angels.

5. Income for the teachers and day care workers, kitchen staff, custodial staff, maintenance person (25 people).

6. Support for education for 150 students K-6th.

7. Support for Montessori child care which provides 2 meals per day for the 62 children.

8. Funding for our North American distributer to keep her small business alive which is vital to UPAVIM’s survival.

Gracias y Paz,

Barb Lorraine, Advisor to UPAVIM

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