Brenda’s heart leapt as she rounded the corner and saw green and white streamers fluttering above her school. Why? It was inauguration day for El Aguacate Cooperative School’s first ever Computer Center, and she couldn’t wait to get her hands on a computer! She knew that those mysterious black boxes (which YOU are helping to demystify) would play a crucial role in her dreams.

“I want to be a bilingual secretary someday,” says Brenda, a seventh grader. “These computers will help me get a job as a secretary, so that I can save money and study at the university level.”

Brenda sitting at a new computer

Brenda sitting at a new computer

Brenda, the only one of her four siblings to make it to middle school, understands that nearly 60% of mid-level jobs in Guatemala now require computer skills. Unfortunately, Brenda’s siblings and most other children from rural Guatemala never get to touch those mysterious black boxes—and end up getting left behind to work in the fields or perform other low-paying jobs.

Brenda knows that computers will help her escape this reality. She was mesmerized the first time she touched a mouse and watched the computer screen flash to life. “I loved the first time I used a computer,” she says. “As a class, we did an assignment together step-by-step.”

Brenda's classmates celebrate the new Computer Center

Brenda’s classmates celebrate the new Computer Center

Since then, Brenda’s skills have developed quickly. CoEd’s Computer Program trains local teachers to deliver a standard, proven curriculum that uses project-based learning methodology. This encourages children to learn by doing, and to think critically and creatively, instead of just memorizing how to use a program. In the past, students have used the computers to plan clean-up projects in their hometowns, perform cost-benefit analyses of the crops that their parents tend, and even start their own businesses!

“I am learning lots of new things I didn’t have access to before,” says Brenda. “Now I have access to a whole new world!” Although she knows her path to success will not be easy (Is anything easy in rural Guatemala?) the computers have renewed Brenda’s commitment to her goals. She wants to tell YOU, dear CoEd supporters: “Thank you—these computers will help me achieve my dreams.”