Rotarians return to Guatemala with books

| 30/01/2014

CNS): Six local Rotarians from the Grand Cayman club will be returning to Guatemala shortly to join Cooperative for Education (CoEd) and Rotarians from the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom to deliver books to secondary schools and open a new computer center. Rotarians Trevor Neckles, Brian Hurley, Lawrence Edwards, Alistair Walters, along with Past Presidents, Chris Johnson and Derek Haines, will assist in the project during the 10 days self-funded trip from 31 January to 9 February where they will cover several hundred miles over bumpy roads in mountainous terrain.

“Through the programmes, the organisation strives to address the root causes of poverty in Guatemala, rather than merely treating its symptoms,” said Neckles who will going on his 6th trip  to the centrl American country.

Currently, there are more than 25,000 children using CoEd textbooks, 17,000 students being trained at CoEd computer centers, 33 schools with the Culture of Reading Program, and 669 one-year scholarships given.

On what will be his fifth trip Haines said, “Rural Guatemala has one of the highest rates of poverty, illiteracy, and inequality in the Western Hemisphere. One out of every two adults cannot read or write. The vast majority of indigenous young people drop out of school before reaching the sixth grade. Without education and training, they will repeat the cycle of poverty.”

Johnsons who will be going on his first trip said he was excited about seeing the project first hand. “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,” he added.

Besides supporting the programme financially, Rotary Grand Cayman has provided funds for sporting equipment and is sponsoring a school this year. Cayman attendees have provided the funds for computers and a toilet block at one school. Additionally, Trevor and Derek each sponsor a student in the scholarship programme.

The Cooperative for Education (CoEd) was founded by brothers Joe and Jeff Berninger in 1996 with the mission of helping Guatemalan schoolchildren break the cycle of poverty through education.  CoEd accomplishes this mission by providing sustainable educational tools (like books and computers), training, and scholarships. Education can break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala and CoEd has worked in nearly 300 communities to empower students and teachers to accomplish this mission.

CoEd delivers sustainable programmes that thrive and survive into the future. The innovative revolving fund model requires beneficiaries to make a small financial contribution to their school’s program, giving them a vested interest in its success. CoEd also builds local capacity by training community members to manage and maintain the programmes.

Learn more about the Cooperative for Education at

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