Cooperative for Education (logo)


Part of the Guatemala Literacy ProjectScholarship &
Youth Development Program

Helping talented young people stay in school

Sponsor a Scholarship Lesly proudly displays her diploma and academic achievement certificate at her graduation ceremony, accompanied by her beaming parents.

Cancer—the diagnosis that changes any family. When Lesly Patzan's father was diagnosed with cancer, she was but a sixth-grader. It looked like Lesly, as the oldest of seven kids, would be forced to drop out of school, get a job, and help her mom put food on the table while her dad received treatment. Consistently at the top of her class, Lesly had envisoned quite a different future for herself. Seeing both her academic achievement and her need, CoEd offered Lesly a scholarship, allowing her to stay in school—and that has made all the difference.

Lesly's Dream Realized

From a young age, Lesly had dreamed of becoming a nurse, even though no one in her extended family had ever graduated from high school. Her family members were supportive of Lesly continuing in school, but they were skeptical of such a lofty dream. Nevertheless, she was determined to finish high school. The CoEd Scholarship taught her to hope for—and work toward—a brighter future.

“If it wasn't for the CoEd Scholarship, I wouldn't have accomplished my dream. My dream was to be a nurse... and thanks to God, I'm now a nurse.”
—Lesly Patzan, CoEd Scholarship Graduate

Lesly Today

Determination was a constant friend in Lesly's journey from sixth grade—when she faced the possibility of being forced to drop out—to her recent high school graduation and the start of her nursing career. As valedictorian of her nursing school class, she sets a powerful example for her younger siblings and for students across Guatemala who dream of a better tomorrow. Without the scholarship provided by CoEd and supporters like you, Lesly's nursing career would have remained only a dream.

Why Scholarships?

Program Highlights

One-year scholarships have been awarded to Guatemalan students

Education Connected to Future Earnings

It takes 12 years of education to support a two-person family above the poverty line, but the average Guatemalan has only 4.1 years of schooling. Education beyond the elementary school level is crucial to reducing poverty in rural Guatemala, where those with a middle school education earn as much as 27% more in income each month than their peers without one.

Dropping Out is Common

Girls in the Scholarship Program line up to greet visiting CoEd volunteers on a project tour.

Studies show that a Guatemalan with a 12th-grade education can earn enough income to break the cycle of poverty, but in Guatemala, only 18% of students reach the milestone of high school graduation. Deficiencies in educational quality, related to poor teacher preparation and insufficient resources, lead almost half of children to drop out before the sixth grade. Extreme poverty exacerbates the situation. Families cannot afford school fees or the opportunity cost of keeping children in school when those children could work instead.

Scholarships Keep Kids in School

The Cooperative for Education seeks to end the cycle of poverty in rural Guatemala one student at a time, by providing children with opportunities to earn scholarships, stay in school, and significantly improve their earning potential over their lifetimes.

How the Program Works

Each year, with the help of sponsors, CoEd provides full academic scholarships to more than 250 indigenous Mayan students in impoverished communities throughout Guatemala, with a focus on selecting mainly girls (who make up about 70% of the total scholarship recipients each year).

Research shows that educating girls yields a higher rate of return than any other investment in the developing world.

A CoEd scholarship student plants a garden to beautify his village of Santiago Sacatepéquez.Developing Future Leaders

A CoEd Scholarship goes beyond tuition and school fees and focuses on developing Guatemala's youth into future leaders.

Our Results

In a country where the high-school enrollment rate is a dismal 24%, 90% of students who complete middle school with a CoEd Scholarship go on to graduate from high school. The CoEd Scholarship Program helps bright and talented young people like Lesly—who achieved her dream and is inspiring her younger siblings to do the same—stay in school and aspire to a better life, beyond poverty.

Sponsor a Scholarship