Archive for the ‘The Voices of CoEd’ Category

Dora María Cardenas Figueroa: A Classroom Transformed

Friday, May 19th, 2017
Guatemalan primary school reading program

Dora María and her student Antony

Before the Culture of Reading Program (CORP) arrived at Agua Dulce school, Dora María’s classroom looked like most other first- and second-grade classrooms in rural Guatemala. There were no storybooks, just a whiteboard and some markers. Dora María used the teaching techniques she had learned while studying teaching in high school, which is all the training that is required of primary school teachers in Guatemala. “They would just copy and copy and copy,” she says.


Orlando Chile Bucú: Turning Skills into Success

Friday, March 10th, 2017


“Tonight, please complete the even problems on page 268 and show up ready to compare your work with a partner’s tomorrow.” Many of us recognize these words as a typical end to a typical math class. But for students in rural Guatemala, there is nothing typical about these words. Nine out of ten middle schools in the regions where CoEd works do not have textbooks. “Learning” in these schools focuses on rote memorization instead of critical thinking. Students spend as much as 65% of class time just copying from the blackboard. (more…)

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…)

Florencio Fernando Teleguario: Dreamer to Be

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

We often tell stories of students with big dreams and students who have made their dreams reality, thanks to your support and CoEd’s innovative programs. The truth is, many of these students started off without a dream—many of them thought a life of toil and poverty was inescapable—until you changed their lives.

Florencio Fernando Teleguario is still without a dream. When asked how far he wants to go in school, Florencio responds, “I don’t know,” and when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he says, “I want to work with a hoe.” Currently, Florencio works alongside his mother in the fields every day after school. He considers himself the man of the house, shouldering responsibility for his mother and five sisters on his thin, 12-year-old frame.

His father used to send money home from the United States, but now he spends his money on alcohol and Florencio rarely hears from him. All of his sisters dropped of out of school before the sixth grade, two of them before the second grade. It’s no wonder, then, that Florencio assumes he will one day drop out too.

But wait! Don’t worry! Something is changing for Florencio, and we know it will make you smile as wide as him!

Florencio with his favorite book, "Bear Under the Sun"

Florencio with his favorite book


Brenda Sequen Cux: Discovering a New World

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

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


Edgar Elías Colop: Receiving the Gift of Education

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Two days after Edgar Elías Colop’s 15th birthday, he received an unlikely gift—textbooks from complete strangers. Like all of his fellow ninth-graders at Parracaná Cooperative School in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Edgar had never used textbooks in class until the CoEd Textbook Program arrived and changed everything. Edgar and his classmates now get to study with math, social studies, Spanish, and science textbooks for a small monthly fee that goes into a revolving fund managed by CoEd. After five years, enough money will be saved to begin purchasing new books, making the Textbook Program 100% sustainable after the initial investment.


Edgar shows off the book he’s most excited to use.

“My favorite subject is math,” says Edgar, flipping excitedly through the pages of a brand new book. Edgar has wanted to be an engineer ever since his mother told him all about it when he was little. (more…)

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…)

Agustin Cutzal Sajbochol: Determined to Achieve

Monday, August 3rd, 2015
Agustin case study

Agustin hard at work showing off his new computer skills while his mother looks on with pride.

Agustin Cutzal Sajbochol is not a typical eighth grader. At 21 years old, he is nearly a decade older than most students in his class at Hacienda Maria Cooperative School. But, as he chats animatedly about the new skills he is learning from the Cooperative for Education (CoEd) Computer Center at his school, the age difference seems to vanish. Agustin is simply another eighth grader, captivated by technology and eager to share his newfound knowledge.

Agustin is the seventh of eight kids in a family that has always struggled financially. His dad, an alcoholic, died when Agustin was just five years old, leaving his mother Francisca—who has never attended a day of school in her life—the sole breadwinner. (more…)

Ingrid Tobar Xico: Surpassing Statistics

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015
CoEd2015_GLP_Howard - 0998

From left to right: teacher Maria, student Ingrid, and mother Juana showing off the ABC book nine-year-old Ingrid created in class. Chimaltenango, Guatemala, February 2015.

One out of every four adults in Guatemala cannot read, and the average education level is a mere 4.1 years—the second lowest in all of Latin America. It is no coincidence that 75.6% of rural Guatemalans live below the country’s poverty line, earning less than $4 per day.

Ingrid Tobar Xico should undoubtedly become one of these statistics; all signs point in that direction. Neither of her parents made it past primary school, and all three of her older siblings have dropped out as well. Her family is poor, uneducated, and stuck. Ingrid’s mother Juana, a housewife, has to deal with an alcoholic husband who makes a meager amount of money farming on good days, and takes out his frustrations with his fists on bad days.


Diego Set Cuc: Friendship Through Generosity

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
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Diego proudly displays the textbook that will help him achieve his dreams.

The enormous toothy grin he wears from ear to ear gives him away—Diego Set Cuc is thrilled. Today Cooperative for Education and the Guatemala Literacy Project is delivering all-new textbooks to Chumanzana Cooperative School in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, where Diego is in the eighth grade. Today is a good day.

“This is my first time using books in class,” Diego says, “and my first time meeting people from North America!” He is amazed that people would come so far to visit his school, saying, “It is incredible for you to travel all this way, and for me to have the opportunity to learn more about the United States and Canada.” (more…)