Rotary continues work with Guatemala literacy drive

| 15/02/2017
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Derek Haines of Rotary, GLP co-founder Jeff Berninger, Chris Johnson of Rotary, GLP co-founder Joe Berninger and CoEd director Howard Lobb at plaque presentation

(CNS Local Life): Two past presidents of Rotary Club of Grand Cayman (RCGC) joined directors and staff from the Cooperative for Education (CoEd), together with Rotarians from the US and Canada, in Antigua City, Guatemala, to celebrate the inauguration of a new educational centre on 10 February, part of the Guatemala Literacy Project.

In addition to Chris Johnson and Derek Haines, who were on hand for the opening, over the past 10 years more than 25 RCGC members, including eight past presidents and the current president, have been involved with the project; last year Governor, and honourary Rotarian, Helen Kilpatrick accompanied club members on a trip to Guatemala, stated a Rotary press release.

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 the country’s Central and Western Highlands. In 1997, CoEd began working with Rotary International (RI) in what is now called the GLP and this year celebrates the 20th anniversary of that partnership.

CoEd and RI have worked in more than 300 communities to empower students and teachers to accomplish this mission. Since its humble beginnings more than 20 years ago, the textbook programme has expanded to 193 schools in 14 of Guatemala’s 22 departments. The GLP has significantly increased its geographic and programmatic reach. Today, CoEd is recognised as one of the leading development non-governmental organisations in Guatemala.

Besides supporting the programme physically and financially, the RCGC has provided funds for sporting equipment and sponsored a school. Over the years, Cayman attendees have funded computers, books and even a toilet block at one school.

Additionally, some of the members sponsor students in the scholarship programme. Johnson and Haines caught up with their students on this recent trip. They joined volunteer Gabriella Amado for the reunion. She is from Guatemala and over the years has been a tremendous help to the GLP and, in particular, to the Cayman attendees with whom a great friendship has developed, said Haines.

Haines gave a short speech in which he congratulated the directors and CoEd for their vision and energy in running such a successful programme that continues to enrich the lives of children, and in making the dream of an educational centre become a reality. Johnson and Haines then jointly presented a plaque to the centre to commemorate the occasion.

For more information on the Cooperative for Education, go to the CoEd website

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Category: Education, Service Organisations

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