Guatemala is an amazing country filled with rich culture, hard-working citizens, and a beautiful landscape. Unfortunately, it also stands as one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The lack of accessible and affordable education keeps illiteracy and poverty rates high. However, there are many organizations that are working to help combat this issue and improve the quality of life for so many Guatemalans. One great organization is called Creating Opportunities for Guatemalans.
Creating Opportunities for Guatemalans was originally founded in 2014 by Vicki Horsfield, a former math and science teacher, and William Garcia as an avenue to supplement learning by providing after-school tutoring and school supplies for students. They hoped to fill the gap between the families and schools and keep children from being left behind. Their program was well received and has now grown to include programs such as sewing, welding, and English language classes and wellness workshops for adults and families as well.
Programs like these are critical when it comes to the success of future Guatemalans for reasons such as:
- 60% of Guatemala’s indigenous people are illiterate.
- Only 10% of students make it completely through high school.
- Girls are more likely to drop out as they are expected to stay at home to assist in household duties.
- Many of these girls end up becoming mothers at a very young age.
There is hope for these incredibly resilient individuals. Creating Opportunities for Guatemalans is working hard to change the narrative. They are working with families to give them the tools to find stable income sources while teaching valuable parenting skills and health and hygiene practices. If parents can care for themselves, they are better able to care for their children, who learn and perform these practices themselves. The gaps are being filled in educating students, through being tutored in math and reading, participating in English language classes, and receiving any help with homework. The organization and teachers are working hand in hand to ensure that these students receive the education they deserve.
Progress may seem slow, but the seeds of the action are beginning to root. Lives are being changed. Strength and courage are building and there is a real vision for change. Over time, this already incredible group of Guatemalans will be flourishing and spreading the fruits of their labor and growth all over the world.
For more information about Creating Opportunities for Guatemalans, visit the organization’s website.