The story of Carlos’ education is one of struggle and overcoming the odds. He is currently 22 years old, the second oldest of five children in his family although his family are no longer able to be together. Like many children the Foundation supports, Carlos comes from a broken home.
Instead of letting this separation from his family bring him down, Carlos says that it was very difficulty which motivated him to reach the achievements he has today. He said: “Because of this I dedicated myself to study so much, that I didn’t have time for anything else”.
In 2007 Carlos’ family first connected with EFTC. This very same year Carlos’ mother, who was looking after the five children alone, left her children in Guatemala as she chased a better life in the United States. Carlos was only 14 years old at the time.
All five children, minors at the time, were left living alone in Ciudad Vieja. When EFTC found out about this, they immediately provided Carlos and his siblings with a home at the Foundation House. The children lived there for four months until they were able to be reunited with their grandmother. She came to look after them, enabling them to live as a family again, and things for them began to look up. Carlos turned 15 and began studying at The School of Hope, alongside his older sister.
Unfortunately near the end of his school years in 2012, just one year before Carlos was to enter University, his family was split apart again. His grandmother moved to Guatemala City taking his siblings. Carlos was left living completely alone, he was 18 years old at the time.
Today only Carlos and his older sister are still in Guatemala as his younger siblings made an illegal border crossing into the United States to be with their mother. In his own words: "My older sister is the only one I have here. We're very independent but we also always rely on each other".
Carlos entered University in 2013, starting a Teaching Degree in Pedagogy and Psychology. He is one of our most driven and thoughtful students, when asked about his motivation behind his study focus Carlos said:
“I decided to study Pedagogy and Psychology because I like teaching and also because one of my dreams and long-term goals is to help underprivileged children and people with special needs to have access to education. Even by helping only one person with their education, here in Guatemala, we are making a real difference”.
Throughout his University degree Carlos has flourished. He attends Universidad Landivar in Guatemala which every year offers a 25% scholarship to the top 10 students out of over 1,770 students. This is the second consecutive year Carlos has received the scholarship and this year he received an award for Academic Excellence, out of the top 5 students studying Pedagogy & Psychology.
Although this scholarship helps considerably with his University fees, the cost of studying would still be out of reach of Carlos without the Foundation. Carlos says that, “thanks to EFTC I have had the opportunity to study. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have succeeded”, and Carlos is succeeding.
He has currently reached a technical stage of his degree and has broadened his focus, within the Educational branch of his degree he now also has a Natural Sciences and Physics focus alongside his Psychology studies. Carlos is a perfect example of a hard working overachieving student.
Alongside his other responsibilities he also works 9 hours a day, four days a week, after his studies to earn enough for food and to keep a roof over his head. Despite how hard he works Carlos only makes £135 a month. In addition to everything he also volunteers every morning at The School of Hope, helping the school support other children through their studies. Carlos is perseverant and independent, working incredibly hard to accomplish whatever he sets his mind to. We feel very proud of him!