Rotary members on educational mission to Guatemala

| 11/01/2016
Cayman News Service

Part of the group of Rotarians who, along with Governor Helen Kilpatrick (seated, second from left), will participate in the mission to Guatemala

(CNS): Members of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman plus honorary Rotarian, Governor Helen Kilpatrick, will be travelling on a goodwill mission to Guatemala in aid of education. The group of 16 taking part from Cayman is joining with the Cooperative for Education (CoEd) and club members from the US, Canada and the UK to deliver books to secondary schools and open a new computer centre.

Since 1996, CoEd has worked to break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala through education. A non-profit organisation based in Cincinnati and Guatemala City, CoEd provides sustainable educational resources, training, scholarships and opportunities to indigenous Mayan schoolchildren in Guatemala’s Central and Western Highlands.

Rotarians will assist in the project during the 10-day self-funded trip during which they will cover several hundred miles over bumpy roads in mountainous terrain.

Multi-trip veterans Trevor Neckles and Derek Haines are again taking part. Neckles spoke about the work CeEd has done in the country. “The organisation strives to address the root causes of poverty in Guatemala, rather than merely treating its symptoms. Currently, there are more than 25,000 children using CoEd textbooks, 17,000 students being trained at CoEd computer centres, 33 schools with the Culture of Reading Programme, and 669 one-year scholarships given.”

Haines added, “Rural Guatemala has one of the highest rates of poverty, illiteracy, and inequality in the Western Hemisphere. You will all have heard of the butterfly theory that a hurricane is created as a knock-on effect when the insect beats its wings. Well, this programme is similar in that by educating these children, you are blowing a strong wind of change through their impoverished circumstances, massively attacking the problem and breaking the cycle of poverty.”

On his third trip, past Rotary president Chris Johnson said, “What I have seen and experienced in the past two years has been impressive and heartwarming. The enthusiasm shown by my Rotary chums is infectious and I feel the project is rewarding and most worthwhile. This is what Rotary is all about.”

CoEd has worked in more than 300 communities to empower students and teachers. Since its inception more than 19 years ago, the textbook programme has expanded to 184 schools in 14 of Guatemala’s 22 departments. CoEd is recognised as one of the leading development nongovernmental organisations in Guatemala.

Besides supporting the programme financially, Rotary Grand Cayman has provided funds for sporting equipment and last year sponsored a school. Over the years, Cayman attendees have provided the funds for computers, books and even a toilet block at one school. Additionally, some of the attendees sponsor students in the scholarship programme.

To learn more about the Cooperative for Education, visit its website


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Category: Education, Service Organisations

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