Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Riding with Augusto

Friday, July 14th, 2017
Textbook Program Latin American Guatemala

Augusto Bal, CoEd Textbook Program Coordinator

While in Guatemala on a project tour this February, I got to climb into a truck with one of our Textbook Program Coordinators and ask him about his work. Augusto Bal is a jolly, Mayan grandpa of a man whose presence immediately calms and gladdens the heart. He has 23 years of experience in the field of education, many of which he spent as principal at various public schools and as the superintendent of Guatemala’s Chimaltenango department. Now, Augusto coordinates and supports Textbook Program activities such as recruitment of new schools, teacher training, book delivery, and providing support to the 193 schools already in the program. He’s passionate about the way our program inspires entire communities of people to place value on education, and permanently fills the need for textbooks through its sustainable model.

Check out what he had to say about the program and what it means to him, and remember—YOU are making all of Augusto’s wonderful work possible.


Technology Contributes to Student Success

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Pablo Xinico, Principal

Principal Pablo Xinico gets it. During a celebration earlier this year at his school, he wisely said,

“Education is a critical base required for development in rural areas. In our globalized world, technology is now an even more important part of the education of our students. So that our students can be competitive, our students need to have technological skills.

Our community here at Hacienda Maria is very proud to have such a modern and successful computer lab. This [computer] lab has contributed to the success of professionals as they graduate from this school. Our graduates are working in all sorts of jobs thanks to the preparation they received here.”

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Students work in pairs during class to collaborate and learn the new technology together.

Principal Xinico is right; this lab is a BIG DEAL. Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of re-inaugurating the Computer Center Program at Hacienda Maria Middle School. They have already been in the program for more than ten years! It usually takes about six years for a school to save enough money from the student fees to purchase new equipment. So, what does that mean for this school (all you math whizzes out there, help us out!)?

That’s right—this was the second time the school purchased all-new computer equipment from the money collected from student fees and saved in their revolving fund. That is sustainability at its best, my friends.

Thank you so much for being a part of success stories like this one.

What words of encouragement would you send to Principal Xinico and his students?

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.

Celebrating an Empowered Future in Guatemala

Monday, March 24th, 2014


Layers of dust coat the cracked concrete floor of Chiquival Cooperative School’s dilapidated gymnasium. A makeshift stage at the front of the room is strewn with streamers and balloons. Students, teachers, and visitors dance together under the modest aluminum roof, the cold concrete walls reverberating with music and laughter—a celebration amidst the deterioration.

Walfre Sosa Pérez dances well for a 14-year-old boy. His rhythm and movements are comfortable, and his wide smile is contagious. He sways back and forth in time to the music, his joy palpable. Walfre is celebrating because he now has access to a world previously denied to him. He is celebrating because he finally has the opportunity to run his fingers up and down the glossy cover of a brand new social studies book. Walfre is celebrating because he knows that he and his rural community have not been forgotten. (more…)