Our facilities include the Heart of Hope Center, which houses a medical and dental clinic (built by Common Hope and run by our partner, Sangre de Cristo), a library, administrative offices, and rooms for volunteers. The heart of the community is New Hope School, a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility built and run by Common Hope, now educating nearly 275 preschool and elementary students from the surrounding area. Junior high and high school students attend area public and private schools with the help of Common Hope.
At New Hope School, we have implemented a new model for education in Guatemala, which is demonstrating significant results — New Hope students have consistently met national standards and advanced to the next grade at higher rates than the national average.
Read on to learn more about the inception of New Hope and its first decade of work and results.
A new kind of school
Construction of New Hope School was completed in 2005. Laughter now echoes in the hallways, and brightly decorated classrooms are filled with students learning and discovering. The school also has a covered basketball court, playground equipment, and a preschool.
Common Hope uses curriculum at New Hope School that encourages active, engaged learning and critical and creative thinking — methods that are uncommon in Guatemala, where rote learning is still prevalent. Our strategies are working. A study conducted by Del Valle University in Guatemala City showed that New Hope students have outperformed their peers in reading and math by a wide margin. In 2010, 98 percent of New Hope students met national standards, compared to the national average of only 82 percent.
In 2008, we began sharing our learnings and resources with public schools, where the vast majority of children who live in poverty go to school. Visit our results for more information about the difference we are making for students.
A new kind of village
New Hope Village was created in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch, when Common Hope relocated families living on the dangerous ravines outside of Guatemala City. A 34-acre cow pasture was transformed into a peaceful village. People who once lived in desperate urban poverty now have a safe, permanent place to raise their families and a beautiful new school in which their children can receive a quality education.
Home to 42 families, the community has formed leadership roles, creating a formal neighborhood association that governs the community. Families are also becoming landowners, earning their land title through community service hours. Children who once had nowhere safe to play can now organize a pick-up soccer game on the covered court or read books and build puzzles in the library.
With this strong foundation, New Hope Village is well-poised to continue growing into a flourishing, active, and resourceful community.