Our Efforts in Guatemala

Guatemala has the fastest-growing population in the Western Hemisphere, and 40% of that population are under age 15! When you consider that primary education is the level that most influences a person’s future, if there was ever an environment ripe for change, this is it. Primary education is proven to affect equity, economic independence and human development in low-income countries. If Guatemala can increase the literacy rate of this new generation, real change is possible.

“Open Books, Open Minds teachers provide very personalized instruction, with interactive audiovisuals and interesting books. The kids are no longer being held back in school year after year because this program helps them understand what letters and words mean. This carries over to all of their subjects in school.” Dr. Elry Orozco offers a room in his medical clinic near Amatitlan for a GLXi classroom

Teachers in primary schools receive minimum training and many do not pass the standardized tests for math or reading themselves. So, although Guatemala’s Ministry of Education is focusing on a better education system by making it compulsory and free, the facts are sobering.

Education Facts in Guatemala*

  • 60% of students cannot read a 3-word sentence at the end of first grade
  • Half of third graders do not reach national standards in reading and math
  • Only 60% of students who begin primary school complete sixth grade.

In comparison with other Latin American countries

  • Lowest literacy rate
  • Highest poverty rate
  • Lowest scores for basic reading and math skills

After suffering through the aftermath of civil war and political corruption, now is the time to help make an impact.

“My dream is to see all of these young children have a better future, based on education. As a country, we are participating in the leadership with GLXi to help make this dream come true.” Dr. Elry Orozco


Sources: USAID 2010; world.bymap.org; poverty rate: Poverty and Equity Databank; lowest scores: Avivara.org