Posts Tagged ‘educating girls’

Sandra Capen: Hungering for Something Different

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Sandra Capen

From a young age, Sandra Capen was motivated to get good grades by her parents—who sacrificed so much to educate their three children that the family sometimes went without food. Throughout grade school Sandra couldn’t eat lunch with her friends or purchase the school supplies that she needed to bring her creative ideas for projects to life. Instead, she swallowed her hunger and made do with what she had, never asking her parents for money. (more…)

Rock Band Has Soft Spot for Girls’ Education

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Back in August GRAMMY nominated rock band The National performed back-to-back benefit concerts in support of the Thousand Girls Initiative. Now lead singer Matt Berninger (Joe and Jeff’s cooler cousin) and the rest of the band are back with another super-sweet project to support girls’ education!


Joe Requests a Drumroll

Joe requests a drumroll


Behind the scenes with Ryan Van Duzer

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Founding member of the CoEd Best Friends Club Ryan Van Duzer took a week out of his hectic schedule to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to live in rural Guatemala. He spent four days with two different families who have children in our Scholarship & Youth Development Program. The footage he recorded speaks volumes about the difficulties of living in rural Guatemala and the barriers to education that exist for these families. Barriers that you are helping us break down!

And of course, there’s also some laughter… and games… and cake…

Take a few minutes to watch Ryan’s video diaries. It is truly eye-opening to see the poverty surrounding these families, and the determination these girls have to succeed in school despite the obstacles.

Wendy is one of ONE THOUSAND GIRLS who will benefit from our Thousand Girls Initiative. Without a CoEd scholarship, Wendy will not be able to stay in school. Instead she will stay at home to help her mom with all of the household chores you just saw. It takes a lot of work to put food on the table in Guatemala. Her parents would be glad to have Wendy’s helping hands in the kitchen full-time.

But instead, Wendy’s education will be paid for by a generous sponsor, and she will learn valuable life skills through CoEd’s Youth Development program. Instead of becoming another statistic, Wendy has the chance to become a teacher, a doctor or whatever else she puts her mind to—she has the ability to dream because she won’t be forced to drop out.

She will be given the life-changing gift of education.

We hope you will help us spread the word about the Thousand Girls Initiative. We hope you will help us bring the life-changing gift of education to one thousand girls in Guatemala. Let’s get started right now!

When You Educate a Girl…

Monday, April 11th, 2016

“What’s this?” Jeff asked, puzzled.

He was at the office in Guatemala and two scholarship students were handing him a sealed envelope. “These are the leftover funds from our service project,” one of the girls said. “We would like to sponsor another student.” Her eyes shone as she looked up at CoEd’s founder.

Jeff accepts the scholarship students' donation.


Berta Alicia Chancho Vit: Choosing a New Path in Guatemala

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Berta Alicia Primero Basico
Growing up in rural Guatemala is hard. No one would blame 22-year-old Berta Alicia Chancho Vit had she followed the normal path: Go to primary school for a few years. Drop out to work in the fields or the home. Get married too young. Have children. Watch them follow in your footsteps. Grow old under the weight of unfulfilled dreams. But Berta Alicia refused to follow the normal path. Instead, she blazed an entirely new one.

“I have always wanted to study and graduate from high school,” Berta Alicia says. While that might seem like a reasonable goal, it is anything but easy—in rural Guatemala, 80% of indigenous students drop out of school by the seventh grade. Thanks to Berta Alicia’s diligence in primary school, she was awarded a scholarship by CoEd to study through middle school and high school. This was the life-changing chance she had been waiting for, so she got right to work. (more…)

Donor Spotlight: Educating Girls in Developing Countries

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Luisa Tocoché
Luisa isn’t supposed to be in school.

She had been accepted into the Scholarship & Youth Development Program and matched with a sponsor, but shortly before the school year started last January, her sister called to tell us that Luisa, who is only 13 years old, was working in Guatemala City as a maid, and would no longer be able to receive the scholarship.  (more…)

The Ripple Effects of Education: Reyna Por Rodriguez’s story

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The pain was unbearable. Sitting still for more than a few minutes was an exercise in intense concentration, but Reyna Por Rodriguez had no other choice. She tried to block out the pain, instead focusing on the teacher’s soft voice at the front of the room and the feel of the crisp paper in between her fingertips. She pictured her sponsors in the United States, and the family counting on her at home. Determined to take full advantage of her Cooperative for Education (CoEd) scholarship, she vowed to stay in school, no matter what.

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Reyna beams as she talks about the goals and dreams she has achieved thanks to CoEd’s Scholarship & Youth Development Program.

Reyna reflects on that painful time in her life, when a bad accident left her unable to sit for extended periods of time. She recounts the struggle of encouraging her younger brother with disabilities to stay in school, saying, with tears in her eyes, “My own experience serves as an example to him to keep going, even when times are tough.”

Reyna is not only an example for her younger brother, but for all nine of her siblings. Her single mother never had the chance to attend school, and is illiterate. Without the means to afford tuition, four of Reyna’s older siblings had to drop out of school, further miring their family in poverty.

Then Reyna was accepted into CoEd’s Scholarship & Youth Development Program, and everything changed. (more…)

Cindy Marroquín: Dreaming with Confidence

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
As we celebrate the focus on girls education thanks to Malala Day, Girl Rising, and other amazing efforts to educate girls around the world, we wanted to bring you the story of Cindy Marroquin, a girl excited about her education in Guatemala.


I need three volunteers,” said Mario Yac,  manager of Cooperative for Education (CoEd)’s Textbook Program. Quickly, three adolescent boys bounded over to him, prepared for whatever might come next… or so they thought.

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It was the inauguration of CoEd’s Textbook Program at Agua Viva School in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Mario had just finished telling the students how the program would work and wanted to see if they had been paying attention. He asked the boys to recite the three main points of his presentation. Stage fright set in, and none of them was able to respond correctly.


They sat down, and two more boys took the stage. This time, they were joined by a girl—Cindy Marroquín. Cindy was beautiful and poised as she waited patiently, her braids falling neatly on her hand-woven Mayan blouse. The first boy was able to remember just one of the three points. The next boy didn’t remember any of them.


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Then it was Cindy’s turn. She quietly but confidently stepped up to the microphone and recited all three points without breaking a sweat: take care of the books, contribute the rental fee, and return the books at the end of the year. Everyone cheered—including Cindy, who threw her arms into the air in celebration. 


She inspired the spectators not just because she knew the answers, but because her self-assuredness was undeniable. Cindy wants to be a bilingual doctor, which isn’t a surprising dream for someone so intelligent and driven. However, her determination to reach her goals doesn’t mean it will be an easy road. She struggles every day to balance her studies with her many responsibilities at home.


Neither of her parents can read, so their employment options are limited. Her father is a migrant farmer and her mother works as a maid in Guatemala City, only coming home on Sundays. This leaves Cindy to act as a mother to her two younger brothers, ages six and ten. While her parents are at work, Cindy is in charge of everything—making the tortillas, fixing the meals, keeping the house clean, and caring for her younger siblings. And she does it all while keeping up in school and never wavering from her goals.

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As Cindy told her story, she never complained or seemed bitter. She simply said, “I’m glad I can make my parents proud.” She went on to say that what makes them proudest is her desire to continue her education. “That is why they work so hard,” she says. “To make sure that my brothers and I have a chance at a better life.”


Now that Cindy’s school has textbooks, she is one step closer to achieving her dreams and the dreams of her parents. “I am most excited about the science book,” she said. “Now I can learn more about the human body and see pictures of how the systems work.”


As the CoEd tour participants walked away after the inauguration ceremony, Cindy ran up and said in her best English, “Thank you very much for coming here. Thank you very much for helping me.” She again smiled confidently, and the look in her eyes said, ‘Nothing will stop me.’


And thanks to your help, nothing ever will.

Why Jessica Orosco has Hope for a Bright Future

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The sun is shining brightly over the courtyard of Colegio Mesías in San Marcos, Guatemala. The students, giddy with excitement, prepare to perform a traditional dance in front of the entire school, community, and volunteers from Cooperative for Education. Pine needles and flower petals are strewn about the concrete floor, indicating that this is a very important day. The students’ elation is contagious, affecting all in attendance. Today is important. Today is special. Today, the students are celebrating the fact that their school has saved enough money to buy new books after five years in CoEd’s sustainable Textbook Program.


Fifteen-year-old Jessica Orosco takes her place in front of the crowd, her beaming smile reflecting the joyous colors and patterns of her intricate huipil (traditional dress). She begins speaking, expressing her immense gratitude for the textbooks she has the privilege to use every day. She articulates her excitement at being able to read from a book instead of having to copy down everything the teacher says, and confidently proclaims her hope for a bright future, stating, “God gives us the gift of life and what we do with that life is our gift to God.”

The youngest of 11 children, Jessica has grown up surrounded by positive examples of hard work and dedication.

Neither of her parents studied past first grade, but every single one of her siblings are currently in, or have graduated from, high school—and most of them have gone on to college. This is an incredible feat for a family in rural Guatemala, where the education level of an average adult is a mere 4.1 years.

CoEd’s Textbook Program is helping families like Jessica’s continue studying, with schools demonstrating a 46% decline in dropout rates after joining the program. (more…)