Common Hope

Common Hope's mission is to promote hope and opportunity in Guatemala, partnering with children, families, and communities who want to participate in a process of development to improve their lives through programs in education, health care, and housing.
Sep 24, 2013

Nelson Avoids Dropping Out - And Lands a Great Job

Nelson at Graduation
Nelson at Graduation

Your support makes it possible for students like Nelson to surpass serious hurdles that could have caused them to drop out of school.

In tenth grade Nelson was struggling mightily to stay in school. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the aptitude—just a year before he had finished top of his class. But with growing commitments at work and other family challenges, Nelson had missed too much homework and class.

Nelson approached Flor, a member of our educational support staff, who advocated for him at school, explaining the difficulties causing him to get behind. Nelson was allowed to stay in school, and Flor continued to meet with him as he worked through his challenges.

Through hard work and the support of Common Hope, Nelson graduated in 2012. What's more, he got a great job this year, as a graphic designer with a printing company in Guatemala City. Nelson feels so grateful for his job, knowing how hard it is to find a good one.

Looking back, Nelson says he was overwhelmed by the support Common Hope’s support staff showed him. "They really believed in me," he says.

Thank you for make education possible for deserving students like Nelson. Your support funds the work of Flor and many others working hard each day to help students like Nelson to stay in school. For more stories and statistics from the past fiscal year, visit our recently-published Donor Impact Report for 2012: http://www.commonhope.org/donorimpact2012/

Jun 26, 2013

New Engineer Pays It Forward

Jaime
Jaime

Jaime Obando and his wife Laura recently sponsored a student, Dennis, who is working hard in school to create a better future for himself. When corresponding with Jaime about his sponsorship, we discovered something extra special about him: he used to be sponsored by Common Hope himself. Jaime's story is a great example of the difference that your support can make for impoverished Guatemalan youth, and the way you can create ripple effects long into the future.

With the help of Common Hope and supporters like you, Jaime was able to stay in school and get the support he needed to be successful. Through his hard work, he graduated from university in 2010 with a degree in engineering, and now he is the first former sponsored student to sponsor a student of his own.

For a long time, Jaime has striven to give back for the help he received. “I have always had this feeling inside of me,” he says, “wondering how I can return the education that I received from Common Hope. I helped friends in other NGOs, I helped my community group in San Pedro las Huertas—always sharing ideas, finding ways to develop and giving tools to success.” In sponsoring, Jaime says, “My wife and I had this idea to help other kids like me.”

The difference his sponsors made is clear for Jaime: “They helped me get the education I needed to succeed, even if they didn’t know me.” I asked him about what has changed in his family’s circumstances since he was a child. “Everything has changed,” says Jaime. “We have a decent house with a big yard. My parents are retired. They don’t have to work as hard for us as they did in the past, when my mom worked as a housekeeper and my dad as a gardener. My parents can relax more and do what they enjoy doing—for my mom that’s quilting, and for my father that’s gardening. They are so proud of my success, but I know there were a lot of people involved in it, and for all my life, I’m going to remember where I came from, who I am, and how I achieved this.”

Jaime is an inspiration to so many students working hard on their goals, and to so many supporters like you helping students get there.

Mar 27, 2013

Four sibling duos graduate

Rebeca and David
Rebeca and David

In 2012, thanks to your support, we celebrated 146 high school graduates. This despite the fact that high school graduation is still very uncommon in Guatemala; only 17% of Guatemalans graduate from high school, due to the many challenges stacked against them. This year, four pairs of siblings collected their high school diplomas together. We thought you would enjoy meeting each of them, as examples of the many youth who benefit from your support.

Siblings Rebeca and David Sajbin Gonzalez are the first in their family of seven to graduate from high school. Rebeca, age 19, earned a degree as an accountant, while David, age 18, graduated as a mechanic. The two finished at the same time because Rebeca repeated a grade in elementary school, so David was able to catch up.

Complications along the way
Both acknowledge rough patches as they worked their way through school. One of the hardest was during high school, when their younger brother Jesus experienced complications while having his appendix removed. The seriousness of their brother’s condition was very hard on both of them, and their grades went down during that time.

The challenges have surely made their accomplishment even more sweet. “We feel so satisfied to have reached this point in our academic careers and know that we will have good job opportunities ahead of us,” says Rebeca. The two are grateful for the help of their parents and Common Hope that enabled them to continue studying and achieve their goal.

Guideposts for the trek

One such support from Common Hope was the youth program. At the start of junior high, Rebeca and David became active in the program, where they participated in interesting talks about adolescence and later became leaders in the group. Now as they approach graduation, Rebeca and David continue to be mindful of their role as leaders.

“We want to serve as good examples for other youth and for our brothers and sisters so that they also able to graduate like we have done. Our advice to other young kids is that they continue to fight to reach their goal and never give up no matter what obstacle is in their path. They can become agents of change in our country.”

Below, the other three sibling pairs share highlights of their path to graduation.

Esvin and Eva Morales Ozuna

Esvin and Eva say that it feels great to achieve something they’ve worked so hard for. Esvin just earned his degree in Computing, Eva in Medicine. They say they persisted with their education so they could be better off in their lives. Their family is very happy for them, too; they say their parents are so proud of their kids. As for advice to young kids, they say “Keep fighting for what you want. There will always be challenges, but you have to keep moving forward!”

Oliver and Jennifer Gudiel Ramos

Siblings Oliver and Jennifer are the first in their family to graduate from high school. They say it feels like a dream come true. “We have made another step forward, reaching a goal we set for ourselves.” They were motivated to stay in school because their parents only finished elementary school, and they wanted to break that cycle. Jennifer earned her degree in Elementary Education, Oliver in Accounting. When asked what they would tell younger students, Jennifer says, “Take advantage of the opportunity to study because everything we learn, we can use in our lives.” Says Oliver, “Keep studying. Education is the best tool to face life.”

Elmer and Marvin Guerra Rodas

Brothers Elmer and Marvin are also the first in their family to graduate from high school. When asked what motivated them to stay in school, Elmer says, “I saw the economic situation in my home and knew I couldn’t go to school without the financial support of Common Hope, so I made the most of it.” Elmer earned his degree in Construction, while Marvin studied Accounting. In high school, the two brothers were active in the Common Hope soccer program; they helped Common Hope coaches with the younger teams. When reflecting on their accomplishment, Elmer would give the following advice to younger students: “Take advantage of your studies, because you can’t reach the goals you have without them.”

Your support of Common Hope's project, Education for Impoverished Guatemalan Youth, makes it possible for students like Rebeca, David, Esvin, Eva, Oliver, Jennifer, Elmer, and Marvin to get the support they need to stay in school and be succcessful. With their degrees, these youth have double the lifetime earning potential, which greatly improves their chances of a better life. Thank you for providing this opportunity for them and so many more. Together, we are unwinding the cycle of poverty.

Esvin and Eva
Esvin and Eva
Oliver and Jennifer
Oliver and Jennifer
Elmer and Marvin
Elmer and Marvin

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