Posts Tagged ‘Literacy’

Our Partnership with Rotary is Stronger Than Ever!

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Chances are you’ve seen this golden wheel around, but do you know what it represents?

rotary international


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.


That Face You Make…

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

In honor of International Literacy Day, we thought it was high time that we let some of our sprightly young Culture of Reading Program (CORP) students teach you a few things about proper reading technique. Namely, exactly what facial expressions one should make while engaging in various reading-related activities, from vocabulary exercises to dramatization of a story. Captured in their natural habitat, these emotive masters will dazzle you with their superb expressive technique. Go ahead and limber up your own facial muscles so you can play along at home with That Face You Make…

1) when you love practicing your letters
chubby cheeks and wide smiles


640 Challenge Run Ride Read

Thursday, September 10th, 2015
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Always first to help and ham it up at the same time, Chris ensured this little girl could reach the wall to put her new vocab word onto the classroom word wall.

One of our favorite aspects of this blog is that we get to introduce you to some really cool things that our supporters initiate to help CoEd. This is one of those stories.

Chris Bailey, a Rotarian from the Cayman Islands, joined us in Guatemala in February for his first tour. Inspired by what he learned, he naturally decided to undertake the extraordinary challenge of running and riding the 640 miles that separate Grand Cayman and Guatemala. Chris has set a goal of raising a whopping $20,000  ($7,000 raised to date!) over six months by completing the following challenges: (more…)

Carlos Pu: Following His Dreams, Inspiring His Family

Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Carlos Francisco Pu and brother Edwin4

Through Cooperative for Education’s sustainable Textbook Program, Carlos’ (right) contributions to his school’s revolving fund helped buy brand new textbooks for his younger brother Edwin (left).

In 2008, thirteen-year-old Carlos Francisco Pu was surrounded by books on a daily basis. In fact, he helped produce them at a printing company near his hometown of Choquí, Quetzaltenango. Yet, when he returned home every night, his shelves were empty. But at Choquí School, where he attended seventh grade, Carlos experienced a whole new world through the textbooks CoEd had provided just two years earlier.

“I was so excited to use the new textbooks. I wanted to absorb everything in them, but my reading skills were not great,” Carlos says shyly. “So, I spent my free time practicing and becoming more literate, in order to absorb every bit of the information.”

This is especially noteworthy, considering how little “free time” Carlos actually had. His childhood was cut short when Carlos’ father abandoned the family. His mother was illiterate and could only find work as a maid. Unfortunately, her meager wages were not enough to provide the basics for Carlos and his little sister and brother. So he and his brother, Edwin, took jobs to help. Edwin dropped out of school to concentrate on working, but Carlos was determined to both work and continue his education. He attended school in the mornings and worked at the printing company in the afternoons and evenings, poring over his schoolbooks late into the night.

“The books provided a tremendous benefit for me with my homework,” Carlos says. “Rather than being limited by what the teacher dictated in class, with the books, I could always look ahead and have an idea what the next theme would be.”

Although it was often a struggle, Carlos’ commitment to his education remained strong. Four years later, Carlos graduated from middle school and was in 11th grade in a college preparatory program when we talked with him. He loves math, and hopes to attend university to study civil engineering. “With a job as a civil engineer, I can make a better life for my family,” he says.

Carlos Francisco Pu
But Carlos is already creating a better life for them. Inspired by his success, his mom recently started school as a first grader. She attends classes and completes her assignments every evening after work. His younger brother, Edwin, also returned to school as a sixteen-year-old seventh grader and is benefiting from CoEd’s Textbook Program. Carlos has shown them that education is worth the effort, even when it means studying with a group of much younger students.

Carlos remarks proudly, “When I first started participating in the Textbook Program, (CoEd staff) told me that the user fees I paid ensured that younger kids like my brother would have books too when they came to middle school. I was skeptical, but now Edwin gets to use a brand new set of books because of the contributions my classmates and I made. The system really does work!”

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Through CoEd’s innovative revolving fund process, small student contributions allow schools to save money to replace books as they wear out. This means that future students just like Edwin and Carlos will continue to benefit from textbooks for years to come.

Edwin and Carlos smile ear to ear as they huddle around Edwin’s new science text, thumbing through the pages and pointing out the pictures and diagrams. Carlos’ maturity and level of responsibility belie his tender age of seventeen. But when asked what word he would use to describe the books, his personality and youth shine through. “Cool,” he says with a smile.

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.

Literacy in Guatemala

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Imagine you are seven years old and have never come in contact with a single book.

This is reality for many rural Guatemalan children. CoEd’s Culture of Reading Program is transforming these students into competent, enthusiastic readers.

Click here to learn how you can sponsor a CORP class!