Who We Are

Quiénes Somos


    Alvaro Ernesto was born on January 23 1977 in Antigua, Guatemala. He was a healthy baby but when he was three years old he lost his hearing.

     Alvaro completed his basic education despite having to attend schools that did not offer interpreters or special classes for Deaf students. Remarkably, he found work in a bank; first in the department of Filing, and then Microfilming. He remained for four years.

     Alvaro learned that Scholarships C.A.S.S, offered a scholarship which could provide him the financial support while he studied in the United States. Based on his superior test scores, he was one of only a few among hundreds of other young candidates who were chose to receive it. Although he was reluctant to leave his mother, in 2002, he left his home, family and traveled to Pennsylvania where he attended Mount Aloysius College for two years. He graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Technical Computer and Business Management.

     His stay in the United States changed the course of his life and the essence of his thinking. After he returned to Guatemala in 2004, he found it difficult to adapt new ways of thinking to his previous life style. Rather than look for work immediately, he took some time to consider what he should do next. He used his time productively.

    Alvaro wrote the first volume of his book, Guatemalan Sign Language. A friend provided just enough money to print a hundred copies, which sold out quickly.

     In the years that followed Alvaro dedicated himself to adding and publishing the second and third volumes of his book. To support himself, he gave private Sign Language lessons, but he was restless and ready to accomplish even more.

     Every Sunday he and his family attended Mass in their town. After Mass, they would sit and chat on benches that surround a nearby park. Alvaro often saw two children in the park who were trying to earn a little money by polishing shoes and boots. At first they were distrustful of him, but eventually he gained their trust. When he did, he discovered that they were profoundly Deaf and that they were not receiving education of any kind. Meeting those children inspired Alvaro to establish a school for the Deaf.

     LAVOSI is that school. This institution allows Guatemalan Deaf children who attend to feel that they are finally understood and they can understand others. They discover how important and relevant they are to the development of society in their country. Visit LAVOSI at http://www.lavosi.org to find out how you can help continue the good work Alvaro began here.



    To believe in a more equitable Guatemala, where people are neighbors to one another, sharing values, creating job opportunities for all. LAVOSI will contribute to the peace and the development of our beloved country.


    Using our professional teaching skills and experience, guided by the principles and values needed to be role models for future generations that LAVOSI staff have been entrusted to educate. We will encourage and inspire our students, so they contribute to their communities.

The Role of LAVOSI

    LAVOSI improves the lives of Deaf children in Guatemala by providing high quality comprehensive education.  LAVOSI provides an inclusive fully accessible school environment that promotes academic learning, social development, job readiness, dignity and acceptance as Deaf individuals through the use of Guatemalan Sign

    Language and understanding of Deaf Culture.  We believe that language access and education are the keys to ending the cycle of Discrimination and poverty that too often negatively impact the Deaf Community.

    Empowering Deaf individuals has a significant impact on Guatemala’s Deaf Community. LAVOSI was founded and is led by a native Deaf Guatemalteco: Alvaro Ernesto De Leon Espinoza. Through hard work and determination he created a unique school that empowers Deaf children to face their future with a sense of hope and optimism.

1. Glue gun with glue sticks
2. Tubes of acrylic paint, all colors
3. Paint for the Exterior of the School Building  
4. 1 large Toaster
5. 1 Food Processor
6. Bean bag chairs 4-6 (student sized)
7. Clay (non-drying kind) in all colors
8  Music system with lights that keep rhythm with the music
9. 2 large tents for summer camp and weekend outings
10. Funding for November 2017 Summer Camp
11. Yoga Mats
12. Educational and fun games
13. Children's picture books in Spanish
14. Wooden puzzles 
15.White board markers

    As LAVOSI's student enrollment increases and a grade level added every year until grade 12, it is important to teach Job Readiness skills in addition to traditional Academic skills.

In honor of LAVOSI's June 5, 2017 8th birthday, we are seeking donations to develop LAVOSI's Pre-Vocational skills program. 
1. Fabric Design & Production (Phase I)
2. Culinary & Gardening (Phase II)
3. Building Trades (Phase III)

The cost for program expansion is $3,000.

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