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Educated Women are Empowered Women

Research has shown that educated girls can change the trajectory of their own lives, reverse the cycles of poverty, generate economic growth and in turn change their communities for the better. Educated women receive higher lifetime earnings and lead healthier, more productive lives, which significantly adds to the success of a society.

Common Hope recognizes the need to educate and empower girls. There are 101 young women graduating in the Common Hope Class of 2021, the largest graduating class to date! The future is bright, and these women, like Andrea Pamela who is graduating as a preschool teacher, have the power to create a more peaceful and stable Guatemala. They will be leaders in their homes, places of work, and communities.

Andrea Pamela and her family

Although research supports the benefits of educating women, girls in many countries lack access to education or there is little priority put on their education. Only 25% of Guatemalan women attend secondary school.

Girls experiencing poverty may often find themselves making hard decisions about their futures. Culturally, getting married young is common. But often early marriage promotes the cycle of poverty by leaving young women uneducated and dependent on their husbands.

There are a multitude of barriers that keep women from accessing education:


26% of the population lives on less than $2/day and over 54% of Guatemalans live below the poverty line. Many young women often enter the workforce to help supplement extra income for their families. Impoverished households with multiple children may choose to invest in boys’ education rather than girls. Many young women often have to stay at home and tend to household chores and take care of younger siblings forgoing their education.

Poorly Funded Education Systems

Primary school is free and mandated in Guatemala but even then, it can be too expensive because families are required to buy their own books, uniforms, and school supplies for teachers and classrooms. When a family is simply trying to survive the money for school supplies and education are not the first priority.

Lack of supplies makes it difficult to learn but there’s another problem that greatly hinders the quality of their education; teacher absenteeism. Teacher absenteeism is prevalent in Guatemala. Guatemalan schools do not employ substitute teachers. If a teacher fails to show, children go home—school is canceled. One less day to learn.

Preschool graduate at New Hope School

War and the crisis that followed

Guatemala experienced a 36-year civil war that left the country with high rates of poverty, alcoholism, violence, mistrust and unemployment. Communities continue to battle the long-term challenges of this long war and the lack of stability still deters some young women from receiving adequate education due to safety concerns.

When girls have access to education, they have more opportunities. They feel like they have the knowledge and power to make decisions in their households and communities. Girls who receive education grow into women who are empowered, educated and have the skills to be strong leaders that create change for years to come.

Investing in girls’ education is one way to change the future. You can become a sponsor now and support education for a girl in Guatemala and a future leader!


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