November is an exciting month in Guatemala, with the end of the school year and graduation celebrations. Since only 1 in 4 youth graduate from high school, graduation is a very big deal in Guatemala.
For the Rojo Pérez family, partners with Common Hope since the 90s, this month brings double the excitement. Mario, the eldest son of the family, graduates from university with a degree in social work. Carlos, the youngest son, graduates from high school as a mechanic and soon begins a university scholarship to pursue a law degree.
All this from two boys who, a decade ago, were at high risk of dropping out of school.
Mario is quick to acknowledge the difference an advanced degree can make. “More education will provide you with more possibilities for better work opportunities, and that way you can contribute to the development of your community, your village, even your country,” he says. His passion for rural development compelled him to study social work. Mario attributes his success to the support of his parents, his Sponsors, and Common Hope.
Common Hope's integrated programs in education, health care, housing, and family development meant that the Rojo Pérez family could afford to address pressing needs for things like medicine and housing repairs, and also work toward long-term improvements in those areas, without sacrificing their children's education.
Younger brother Carlos is also very grateful for his education, and very motivated to continue. “Graduating from high school and going on to college has always been a dream for me,” he says. As Carlos looks forward to law school next year, he says he will have the support of his older brother. “[Mario] motivates me, he tells me to work hard and keep studying, and he says that it’s always important to move forward and not backward.”
With such great drive and achievement thus far -- when the odds were stacked against them -- we have no doubt Mario and Carlos will continue to succeed and make a difference in their community. Thank you for giving these leaders the opportunity to shine!
To view a slideshow of all our high school graduates of 2010, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPOeLw84qf4&feature=player_embedded
Carlos and Common Hope social worker Paola