It’s a pleasure for me to write to you and to share what the Rise Team in CoEd has been up to.
We have maintained communication with each other, transmitting confidence, strength, security, and above all, a positive attitude (which undoubtedly characterizes the CoEd family). That has also been demonstrated by our directors. They have been consistent in following the decisions taken by the government to ensure our safety.
The most significant and essential objective for the Rise program is to maintain close ties with the students in our care, since we are part of each of the stories of our students. This is the driving force that inspires the Rise team, and now more than ever, we are in solidarity with our families in the communities we serve.
This situation has created new challenges for the team and also for our students and their families. The suspension of classes in schools and institutions and students’ living conditions means access to homework has been difficult. The vast majority of our students don’t have a telephone, and if they do, it belongs to the whole family and is rarely a smartphone. The government has shared work guides virtually but very few have had access to them. For a small group of students, it has been possible for them to view the materials and receive some homework via Whatsapp, but not all. So these are the challenges that we have identified and are working to address in regards to the education system.
Of course, it is also worth mentioning that many of our students and their families are facing the pandemic in their communities, where restrictive measures limit the continuation of their economic activities in the informal sector, which is their only source of income. Despite this, parents and students are still working in the fields, mothers are dedicated to their weaving, and this has allowed them to generate some very small income to satisfy their needs. They have shared with their local facilitators that they are worried about their basic needs and survival if the closures last longer. They have courage in this crisis, though, and their nutritional needs are being met currently, supported by the corn and beans they have at home. Several families are surviving solely by these basic grains.
The group that has been hit hardest is single mothers, who are the only source of income for their family. They are often domestic workers and rely on this income to make rent and electricity payments. Overall, we have identified that several parents and students who work to support their families and to maintain their studies have lost their jobs.
But despite everything, what remains is the ability to be creative, to have initiative and attitude to be able to find ways of economically supporting their families. Personally, I know that this stage of our lives is leaving a mark on the entire world and it is teaching us that we can move forward and we will be stronger for it.
We send you a strong hug from a distance. We hope to see you again in Guatemala soon.
Thank you for being part of the great CoEd family and making dreams come true!
The Rise Team in action! Staying connected and working together, even from afar.