A few months ago, you helped 25 first graders* start their educational journey. This time, we need your help getting an older group of students to the finish line—high school graduation.

These 17 students are so close to the finish line, but they face incredible odds. You can help ensure they get there. Let’s help them get that last inch of the way.

3 ways you can help:

Sponsor a student for
their final year(s) of school.

As a sponsor, you can help a student and his or her family address the reasons a teenager might have to drop out of school. Your gift of $30 or $60 a month will provide the student and family with access to our integrated programs in education, health care, housing, and family development. Plus, you can be a powerful motivator for a student who is so close.

Choose a student

Support a student
for a month.

A gift of $60 will cover one month of programs for a student who isn’t yet sponsored. Your gift can help pay for a student’s tuition and youth groups that provide academic and social support—while providing the student and his or her family with access to our health care, housing, and family development programs.

Support a student for a month

Help buy needed
educational supplies.

Students need to buy their own school supplies in Guatemala, yet many families have a hard time paying for basic needs like food and clothing. Your support can ensure a student has all of the school supplies they need. A gift of $45 can provide a year of school supplies for one high school student. A gift of $15 can purchase textbooks for one student.

Donate supplies

A high school degree helps Guatemalans thrive.

Only 17% of Guatemalans graduate from high school

Common Hope increases graduation rate by 56%


Education in Guatemala: The back story

Educational opportunities and achievement in Guatemala are very low. By most indicators, they are the lowest in all of Latin America. The newest figures from UNESCO show that only 17% of teenagers graduate from high school in Guatemala. Without a high school degree, young adults are relegated to unskilled, low-paying labor. They become the impoverished parents of the future, and the vicious circle repeats.

Impoverished high school students in Guatemala are at very high risk of dropping out, for a number of reasons. Often, students have been ill-prepared by their local overcrowded elementary schools, so they can fall behind academically. What’s more, most parents haven’t attended beyond grade school, so students can feel like a fish out of water in high school, and they can’t look to their parents for much support. Plus, tuition and books get more expensive. Students often feel pressure to drop out and start working to pay for family expenses instead of incur them. This becomes even more pressing when a parent loses a job or falls ill. Domestic abuse and teen pregnancy are additional threats to staying in school.

The thing is, those couple of years of education, and a high school diploma, can do so much. Read on to learn more.

A study by UNESCO has shown that a high school degree can double a person’s lifetime earning potential in developing countries like Guatemala. Another study by the World bank found that poverty rates can drop up to 40% in households headed by high school graduates. As a high school graduate, a young adult in Guatemala can start a professional career in a field like teaching, accounting, and office administration, instead of picking coffee or cleaning houses for a less than livable wage.

Common Hope students are graduating from high school at much higher rates than their peers. A study conducted this year with the University of Chicago found that Common Hope increased graduation rates by 56%. In the words of the report, “We find very strong evidence that Common Hope plays a vital role in boosting years of education.” Our integrated programs are providing the support students need to reach the finish line.

But what’s beyond the finish line?

Here’s how a high school degree can make a difference. Children of parents with higher education have a much higher likelihood of receiving higher education themselves. A high school degree opens the door to a professional career and doubles lifetime earning potential. This greatly increases a person’s chances of moving out of poverty. It also lessens the risk a person’s children will have to drop out to help make ends meet. Put simply, the future children of today’s high school graduates will be in a much better position.

But there’s more. Our programs strive to instill leadership skills in our students. With Common Hope, students develop their critical and creative thinking, and they learn the value of community service. We believe this will make them valuable and effective employees, increasing their career success. We also believe this will make them valuable community members. Our hope is that Common Hope students will graduate with the skills to become leaders in their communities, agents of change. Unwinding the vicious circle, and creating their own virtuous one. Help them make it happen.

* Read more about the 25 first graders here.