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Meet Brayan, a star student in San Rafael el Arado

A rural Mayan village

San Rafael El Arado is a small, Mayan village located around 40 minutes north of Antigua, Guatemala. In this rural area living conditions are difficult – health care services, education, electricity, and clean water are scarce resources here. Most people here are farmers. Common Hope started to work in this community in 2007. Common Hope supports the local school with reading programs, homework help, books and pre-school programs, and also partners with another NGO to provide medical and dental services to the community.

This is Brayan Asbal. He is 7 years old. He started to participate in Common Hope’s programs four years ago when the Early Childhood Stimulation Program was introduced in the community. Social workers visited Brayan and his mother once per week to work on Brayans’ motor skills, language and socialization skills in order to prepare him for school. One year later he joined the program Pequeños Pero Listos, “Small but clever” for two years to further improve his pre-school skills. Today Brayan studies in 1st grade at the elementary school in San Rafael. Brayan is the brightest student in his class. Due to the skills he had gained, he was able to read two syllable words two to three months before students usually learn it. He can read compound words and sentences. Knowing how to read and write in 1st grade reduces the chance a student will have to repeat 1st grade.

Brayan’s life in San Rafael

Brayan lives together with his parents and eight siblings. His older sister is studying in middle school, which is a great achievement in this community. His brother Darwin helps Brayan improve his reading skills by reading together. Brayan likes to read fairy tales, to color and to draw. He takes care of the cow they have at their home. He feeds him and takes him for walks. Brayans’ family also has a rabbit, pigs, and chickens which lay eggs for them. After school Brayan sometimes goes with his family to work in the field. They are farmers and their main crop is green beans.

Brayan enjoys going to school and hopes to graduate one day.

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