You’re Making a Difference Here



In Guatemala, where 59% of the population lives below the poverty line, socioeconomic status is one of the biggest barriers to accessing a quality education (World Bank 2018).

The average length of schooling for a Guatemalan child is only four years and 24% of the population is illiterate (US Aid 2014; World Bank 2014). This is one of the highest illiteracy rates in the Western Hemisphere.

Pencils of Promise works with 190 communities in Guatemala to ensure students overcome these, and other, barriers to accessing  quality education. Currently, PoP is impacting over 38,000 students in Guatemala.



The region of Boca Costa, located southeast of PoP’s Guatemala headquarters in Xela, is home to a more tropical climate than any of the other regions in Guatemala in which we work. PoP expanded to Boca Costa in early 2012, with our regional office located in Santo Tomás La Unión.

To date, we’ve built 121 schools in the region and have also provided teacher training and educational programming to many PoP schools in the region.


Cantón San José

With a population of around 200, the Cantón San José community is located within the Boca Costa region of Guatemala. The majority of the community works in farming and trade, particularly of corn, beans, chile, papaya, and pineapple. Community members speak Mam and Spanish. 


Air Plant Shop’s Impact in Cantón San José

 In 2016, PoP built a module of two classrooms; currently, one of those classrooms serves forty students. However, current regulations declare that twenty students maximum can be served per classroom. Fourth, fifth, and six grades are currently learning under trees. 

In the current structure students are easily distracted, and overcrowded, often forcing grades to double up in classrooms.

A school build is only the start of a transformative education experience, and we are excited to begin this process. In the coming months, PoP will be partnering with the Cantón San José community to build a new two-unit classroom block! The community is devoted to providing a valuable education to its students, and will contribute 20 percent of the resources and labor required for construction.

We establish partnerships with communities who are deeply committed to their children’s education. The support of the Cantón San José community ensures the sustainability of the school that it will remain a quality learning environment for generations to come.