Latin america

Why Guatemala.


Guatemala has the fastest-growing population in the Western Hemisphere, and 40% of that population are under age 15. When you consider that primary education is the level that most influences a person’s future, if there was ever an environment ripe for change, this is it. Primary education is proven to affect equity, economic independence and human development in low-income countries. If Guatemala can increase the literacy rate of this new generation, real change is possible.

Teachers in primary schools receive minimum training and many do not pass the standardized tests for math or reading themselves. So, although Guatemala’s Ministry of Education is focusing on a better education system by making it compulsory and free, the facts are sobering.

Education Facts in Guatemala*

  • 60% of students cannot read a 3-word sentence at the end of first grade

  • Half of third graders do not reach national standards in reading and math

  • Only 60% of students who begin primary school complete sixth grade.

In comparison with other Latin American countries

  • Lowest literacy rate

  • Highest poverty rate

  • Lowest scores for basic reading and math skills

After suffering through the aftermath of civil war and political corruption, now is the time to help make an impact.

Sources: USAID 2010;; poverty rate: Poverty and Equity Databank; lowest scores:

In Guatemala, the gap between rich and poor must be eliminated, or we will continue to be the example of conflict in America.
— Rigoberta Menchu