In Guatemala: An Educational Revolution

Publication Date: 
February 13, 2013

What started as a simple Salesian effort to provide spiritual support to remote villages neglected during a civil war, has grown into an educational revolution that is training hundreds of teachers and giving thousands of impoverished children the chance to break free from poverty.

The remarkable transformation is largely due to the vision and hard work of Fr. Tony DeGroot, a Salesian Missionary. When Fr. Tony first arrived in the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala, he was immediately taken back by the extreme poverty and deprivation in the mountain communities.

The country was in the thick of a destructive civil war, and places like Alta Verapaz were left alone to fend for themselves. They faced shortages of many basic necessities, and their living conditions were deplorable. Villagers were at risk of exploitation from large land owners. And children were destined to be trapped by illiteracy and a lifetime of suffering.

Determined to make a difference, Fr. Tony began visiting the villages to build hope and offer spiritual support. After a while, he realized much more needed to be done - especially for the sake of the children. Then, he started to build schools - and initiated a teacher training program. He knew that education could lift children out of poverty.

Today, 835 local students are training to become teachers by enrolling in a series of courses that span over a three-year period. Upon receiving their teaching certificates, they will serve as many as 600 villages.

Since the teacher training program was initiated, the number of schools in the region has doubled. And more children than ever are getting the chance to build a brighter future.

Your generosity supports Salesian Missionaries like Fr. Tony and his teacher training program. As a result, your gift today will help ensure that another child has access to an education.

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