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Cooperative for Education

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Mission: To help Guatemalan schoolchildren break the cycle of poverty through education.

We believe that all humans are born with abundant potential—we are destined to become creators, healers, innovators, builders, educators. We yearn to leave the world better than we found it.
But a child born into the generational cycle of poverty is too often stripped of this destiny. We believe that every child, no matter where they were born or what their circumstance, deserves the opportunity to determine their own story. That’s where education comes in. Education is about justice. Where poverty robs us of opportunities, education gives them back. Education levels the playing field. Education opens doors. We have a vision of a Guatemala transformed through education: a future in which every Guatemalan child learns to read and graduates high school with the skills they need to thrive. Is this a tall order? Yes. But is it possible? Absolutely. Because we know that when we empower young people with the opportunities to rise out of poverty, not only will they determine their own stories, they will shape the destiny of their country.

Target demographics: In Guatemala, it takes 12 years of education to support a two-person family above the poverty line, but 95% of poor, rural kids never reach that milestone. Many come from regions where the average level of education is less than two years. Families often live on less than $4 a day and can neither afford the direct cost of attending school (tuition and fees) nor the opportunity cost of keeping children in school when they could be working and contributing to the family’s income. In addition to economic challenges, students face many other pressures to drop out including alcoholism, gangs, child marriage, abuse, and a lack of support from their families.

Geographic areas served: Guatemala

Programs: The Rise Youth Development Program: identifies promising young students who would otherwise be forced to drop out of school, and gives them the tools to break the cycle of poverty. In addition to providing full academic scholarships, Rise offers comprehensive support services from mentors, counselors, and psychologists, and engages students in workshops, community service, and visits to local businesses and universities that transform the way they think about their futures.

The Spark Reading Program: trains primary-school teachers in effective reading instruction and provides them with a library of books. Teachers receive 60 hours of group training as well as individual support and instruction through in-class visits. They also receive approximately 60 to 200 high-quality children’s books (depending on grade level and class size), which enable them to read with their students every day.

The Computer Program: CoEd establishes Computer Centers in middle schools throughout the Western Highlands, providing young people with access to state-of-the-art technology. Each school community partners with CoEd to renovate or prepare a classroom to be a fully functioning Computer Center, with proper security, wiring, ventilation, and lighting. All equipment is purchased in-country (to secure the lowest possible price and contribute to the local economy) and installed once the space is ready. A typical Computer Center houses 12-20 current-model PCs or 40 current-model laptops.

The Textbook Program: provides a low-cost, sustainable solution for giving students access to textbooks. Every program participant “rents” a set of books in core subjects like math, science, Spanish language, and social studies for a small monthly fee (about $1.50). These fees are collected into a revolving fund which is used to replace the books as they wear out.

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