“I have a grand dream that CoEd will lead educational development in all of Guatemala.”
Augusto Bal, long-time CoEd staff member, is dedicated to turning this vision into reality as your new Subdirector of Programs.
“I believe that we have the capacity to put ourselves at the front of the entire educational system in Guatemala—moving ahead, doing things well, and showing everyone how they can follow in our footsteps—so that one day Guatemala will be a country of prosperity where we all live in dignity.”
For the past 11 years Augusto has served on the Textbook Program and Culture of Reading Program teams—turning your generous donations into measurably successful, sustainable program models that create opportunities and transform mindsets on a systemic scale within communities.
“We have staff and programs of the highest quality,” says Augusto. Whereas some teacher-training programs offered in Guatemala fall short of teachers’ needs and expectations, “teachers [who receive training through our Textbook Program, Culture of Reading Program, and Computer Program] routinely tell us: ‘This is the kind of training that we need. This is exactly what we wanted. This is truly helpful to us.’”
In addition, CoEd’s program models change the way that parents think about and prioritize education for their children. All too often, parents who are weighed down by the burden of poverty see education as a luxury that is not worth sacrificing for. But when given the opportunity to invest in an affordable, sustainable CoEd program, many parents change their minds.
“It is a beautiful thing to teach communities to maintain their own Textbook Program,” Augusto explained in an interview last year. “When we raise the educational quality of a school, we are also teaching the people to invest in education.”
As your new Subdirector of Programs, Augusto is ready to bring that systemic change from the community level to the country level: “Our work should be made known, so that the everyone can see what we’re doing, see the models we’ve created, and one day start following them!”
CoEd’s staff and leadership in Guatemala are well-qualified for the task—each bringing unique experience and big dreams for the future of their country. (If you’ve travelled to Guatemala with us, you know exactly what we’re talking about!) Augusto, for example, has worked in education for 35 years—including 18 years as a teacher and 6 as a superintendent for Guatemala’s Ministry of Education. In addition, his motivation to serve comes from the core of his being—just like it does for every member of the CoEd family.
“My personal story is just like that of many Guatemalans,” Augusto explains. “I grew up in a very impoverished context. I always thought that the only way to escape the situation my family lived in was through education. Fortunately, I was awarded a scholarship to continue studying, and when I graduated as a teacher, my dream that I had had since childhood began to become reality… It was no longer just an idea, but I had proved that only through education can we escape poverty.”
“The CoEd family is made up of people we would call ‘humanists’ in Guatemala,” Augusto explains. “We love people, we take interest in them, and it hurts our hearts to see the situation in which many Guatemalans are living. We believe that all people deserve to live in dignity—not just have monetary wealth, but have better living conditions in general—better health, family relationships, homes, nutrition, and more. The work our staff does in Guatemala and in Cincinnati, and the incredible hearts of the donors as well as the trust they give us to put their resources to work—this is what will enable us to finally achieve the dream we all share.”