1. How are students selected for the scholarship program?
We have a robust set of selection criteria for participation in our scholarship program. Please see Program Details for a complete explanation of the selection process.
2. Will I be the only person sponsoring this student?
Yes. Unless you have made other arrangements, no other sponsor will be assisting your sponsored student.
3. Do I need to renew my pledge every year?
No. Pledges auto-renew each year unless you cancel your sponsorship. If your sponsored student leaves school for any reason, we will recommend a substitute for you.
4. What is the Guatemalan school year?
The school year in Guatemala begins in early January and finishes in late October.
5. Can I communicate directly with my sponsored student via email or social media?
Pura Vida strongly discourages direct communication between sponsors and students. This includes contact via email, instant messaging, and social media (i.e., Facebook). Direct contact outside of our supervision raises the potential for serious issues. We have a responsibility to protect both students and sponsors from possible inappropriate communications. When accepted into the scholarship program, our students agree not to contact sponsors directly. If your student tries to contact you, we ask that you please block or ignore the request.
6. How can I pay for my sponsorship?
There are many ways to donate towards your sponsorship:
7. How is the Pura Vida sponsorship program different from that of other organizations?
8. What benefits does my sponsored student receive?
Your sponsorship donations are used to pay for tuition, books, uniforms, supplies, and transportation as needed by your sponsored student. These needs vary depending on the school your student attends. Your student also benefits from the availability of specialized tutoring, and can also receive special disbursements in the case of medical emergencies.
9. How is my sponsorship donation used? Does my student directly receive funds?
Your sponsorship donations fund the direct benefits described above. When possible, Pura Vida disburses funds directly to the school the student attends. Otherwise, funds are transferred quarterly to a bank account opened in the student's name.
Your sponsorship also covers indirect benefits such as helping to fund the education of scholarship students who are not yet sponsored. Other indirect benefits covered through sponsorship donations include the costs of keeping records on sponsored children, translating and forwarding letters, and meeting emergencies.
10. Can I send a gift to my sponsored student?
You can send a cash gift which will go directly to your sponsored student. Please see Gifts for your Sponsored Student for more details. Physical gifts are only possible when you travel with one of our teams to Guatemala and meet your sponsored student in person.
11. Can I meet my sponsored student?
Yes, by traveling with one of our group trips to Guatemala. Many sponsors find that meeting their student is an extremely meaningful experience. Some try to visit them every year! For the protection of both sponsors and students, visits may only take place with Pura Vida representatives present.
12. How long is my commitment? When will my sponsored student be finished with the program?
We strive to keep the same sponsor with a student for as long as they are able to continue advancing in school. We know that sometimes for financial or other reasons a sponsor may not be able to continue. We ask that, if possible, you can at least sponsor your student through a transitional grade (grades 6, 9, and 12). If not, we will do our best to get the student re-sponsored.
13. What percentage of expenditures does Pura Vida spend on program activities?
Over the last 10 years, Pura Vida has consistently used over 80 percent of total expenditures for program activities, using less than 20 percent for fundraising and administration. For a complete breakdown of Pura Vida expenses by category, please see Finances.