Posts Tagged ‘story of success’

Learning How to Learn

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Principal and first- and second-grade teacher Fermy with one of her students

Fermy, the principal and first- and second-grade teacher at El Rosario primary school recalls: “When CoEd came to ask if we would like to enter the Culture of Reading Program (CORP), I said: ‘Yes, I want to do it. I want to learn. I want to develop myself so that I never become stagnant.’” (more…)

Becoming Servant Leaders

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Music: “Follow Your Dreams” by Scott Holmes,

Want to empower a student to become a leader in their community?

Sponsor a Student (more…)

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.


The Thousand Girls Initiative Turns One

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Happy 1-year anniversary!

On April 1, 2016, we officially launched the Thousand Girls Initiative, a massive expansion of our Scholarship & Youth Development Program that will help 1,000 young Guatemalan women avoid an all too common fate: dropping out of school after the 6th grade. Instead, these young women will join the Scholarship Program, be matched with sponsors like you, and step confidently on the path toward graduation and a brighter future.

What do you say we check our progress?

When we started last year, the Scholarship Program was serving 3 communities, and 288 students were either in the program or poised to join it. Now?

Guatemala high school scholarship program

© Rebecca Wilks, Skyline Images

Guatemala high school scholarship program

Guatemala high school scholarship program


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…)

Heydi Chancho: Leading by Example

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

How many girls play teacher when they are little? Assigning homework to stuffed animals and diligently grading fake exams, happily dreaming about a future when it all becomes reality. Heydi Chancho Sirin was no different. “I used to set sticks and sheets of paper in front of trees as if they were pencils and notebooks. The trees were my students,” she says, laughing. “I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember.”


Our confident Heydi in action with the girls she helps in the Scholarship and Youth Development program.

Without Cooperative for Education’s (CoEd’s) Scholarship & Youth Development Program, Heydi, like so many children in Guatemala, would have been stuck playing pretend forever. Her father died when she was 10, leaving their family with a deep emotional and financial void. “My mom said that I could only study until sixth grade, and then I had to start helping her sell vegetables at the market,” Heydi remembers. “I was devastated.”

Delmy Garcia: A Different Kind of Heart

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

When Delmy García was seven years old, she was told she had a bad heart. “I had to stay at the hospital for a week,” Delmy says. “I was very sad.” She always knew she was different—unable to run outside, out of breath after climbing a few stairs, constantly sitting on the sidelines at recess—but doctors finally confirmed her status as an outsider: Delmy had a heart defect. Her health problems affected her schoolwork and how she related to her peers. Her second-grade teacher at El Esfuerzo Primary School, Tulio Cutzal, says, “Before CORP, Delmy could barely read, and didn’t associate with the other children.” She was withdrawn and timid, not willing to speak up in class or reach out to make friends. She was alone.

Delmy Garcia

Delmy proudly reading her favorite book.

Something happened between then and now, one year after Delmy learned about her heart defect. Once a shy girl unable to write her name, Delmy has been transformed into a confident and capable reader. She participates in class, eagerly raising her hand to answer questions. (more…)

Las Camelias: Celebrating Incredible Achievements in Literacy

Friday, February 14th, 2014

CoEd2014_FebGLP_Jenn - 0925

The 2014 GLP tour has officially come to an end (sad-town), but the students and schools that we visited will not soon be forgotten (nor the delightful weather we enjoyed… #PolarVortexRespite). One community in particular stands out as a true champion when it comes to implementing CoEd’s programs and vision–Las Camelias. You see, in CoEd’s strategic plan, we decided to focus on specific “micro regions” in Guatemala in order  to layer our various programs for a more profound impact. Turns out, it works! (more…)

Katie’s Field Reports: Jose Luis using school to overcome heartache

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
Becados Seres medio ambiente 100

Too cool for school or top performing student?

If you had the chance to meet high school scholarship student Jose Luis, at first glance you might think he was too cool for school. Or maybe after a few minutes observing his lighthearted comical demeanor you’d label him as the class clown.

I bet you wouldn’t guess that his older brother was murdered when Luis was in the 5th grade.  Or that he’s dropped out of school multiple times and keeps returning because he’s determined to reach graduation.

Luis had to drop out of school for years at a time in elementary school for financial reasons and again following his brother’s death.  However when he went back to school, he had a renewed determination and earned straight As (an almost unheard of accomplishment in Guatemala schools).  His hard work paid off, and he was selected as a CoEd scholarship student.

So although he’s the youngest in a big family, he’s the first to continue past primary school and definitely the first to graduate from middle school and start high school (he’s just finishing his first year of high school to become an accountant).  Luis is brilliant, charming, and incredibly hardworking. It breaks my heart to think how many others like him didn’t have the same opportunity to reach their potential.  Please consider sponsoring a scholarship student today!

Wishing you could meet these students too,


Katie’s Guatemala Field Report #1 – Reyna Carol

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Welcome to our new series with CoEd staffer Katie Camillus.  Katie spends several weeks of the year in Guatemala evaluating the programs and working with our program teams on the ground.  She always hears incredible stories from the students and teachers and we want to share them with you during those seasons that she’s traveling around to the communities we help.  Enjoy your first installation of Katie’s Field Reports. 

Reyna Carol is another scholarship graduate who blew me away when we chatted last weekend. She’s one of ten kids whose single mother never even started school, but Reyna herself graduated last year with an accounting degree. She’s a scholarship graduate who is proving the impact of a CoEd scholarship extends beyond the recipient him/herself.

Reyna Carol scholarship graduate

Reyna now works at a supermarket chain as a cashier – a well-paid position that she never would have gotten without her degree.

Reyna is not only a role model who is motivating her siblings to stay in school, she also helps them with their homework and pays their school fees from her salary. She came to tears as she told me how she’s struggled to encourage her brother with disabilities to continue his studies. When she was in school she suffered a bad accident and couldn’t sit for extended periods, but decided to stick with school. Her own experience serves as a beautiful example for him.

Meet the scholarship students that still need your help at

Signing off from Guatemala,