December, 2014

Building a Bridge from North America to Guatemala

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Vilma and her ninth grade class in Guatemala have received new computers provided by Cooperative for Education.

Vilma, a ninth grader in Guatemala, loves math and hopes one day to become an auditor. This is a big dream for Vilma, since three of her older siblings dropped out of school after sixth grade to help support the family. Despite the fact that Vilma has stayed in school, she was not learning as much as she had hoped due to her school’s outdated computer equipment and the lack of teachers skilled in using technology.The situation improved dramatically for Vilma and her classmates when Cooperative for Education established a state-of-the-art computer center at her school, complete with technology training for the teachers.

Teachers are trained on how to use, manage, and maintain the equipment through two yearly training sessions.  In order to ensure effectiveness, teachers are evaluated by CoEd’s computer team in addition to passing industry-standard certifications. By completing this training, teachers are able to engage students and provide them with the skills necessary to pursue future careers in Guatemala.

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Vilma and her family near their home near Chimaltenango, Guatemala.

Cooperative for Education (CoEd) is a nonprofit organization that strives to break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala through education by providing textbooks, computer equipment and scholarships for students. These initiatives are made possible through generous individuals who participate in CoEd’s Bridges Program. Through service learning trips and other educational outreach, CoEd connects North Americans with the underprivileged youth of Guatemala who need their support. From 2012 to 2014, more than 170 individuals contributed more than $125,000 to support CoEd’s programs, which have reduced school drop-out rates by as much as 46%.

Sister Victoria Marie Forde, SC visited with students in Guatemala.

Sister Victoria Marie Forde, SC visited with students in Guatemala.

Sister Victoria Marie Forde,SC, a member of CoEd’s Advisory Board, had the opportunity to visit some of CoEd’s sites in Guatemala. She shared that her trip was eye opening. “The poverty I witnessed was just soul shaking, but the people have such a joyful spirit,” shared Sister Victoria Marie. “CoEd is not just about supplying material items, but more about supplying a spiritual outlook,” she added. The computer training provided for the teachers is one way that CoEd is helping to secure a sustainable education for students. “This effort fills my heart with joy,” shared Sister Victoria Marie.

SC Ministry Foundation has supported CoEd since 2001 with the recognition that their work addresses the root causes of migration. CoEd provides students like Vilma the education and skills they need to achieve their professional goals and break the cycle of generational poverty.