Can you imagine living in a world without books? Not having access to a computer? Not even having the resources to attend middle school? Unfortunately, this is the reality for many children in rural Guatemala.

Guatemala’s Central and Western Highlands exhibit one of the most extreme combinations of systemic poverty, illiteracy, and inequality in the hemisphere. In many rural areas of the country, the average Guatemalan adult only has 4.1 years of education; however, it takes 12 years of education for a Guatemalan to be able to support a two-person family above the poverty line.

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 such as books and computers, as well as training, and scholarships.

Through these programs, CoEd strives to address the root causes of poverty in Guatemala, rather than merely treating its symptoms. 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.

For more information about Cooperative for Education, please visit coeduc.org.