Cocolá Grande is a village located in between the mountains of Huehuetenango in the municipality of Santa Eulalia, approximately 18 hours from the city. Subsistence farming is practiced by fathers and sons, growing corn and beans as well as some cardamom and coffee plantations that lead to the center of the village through an 87 km dirt road. The families survive with a monthly income of approximately Q700 due to the lack of job opportunities and other development deficiencies.
Despite the obstacles and adverse conditions, the people from the community believe that education is the most important pillar for their children development and future of Cocolá Grande. They are hard working families that strive to be better and never lose their optimism.
Aware of the gap derived from the lack of educational preparation and looking for a way to bring more opportunities for future generations, in 2012 the school parents organized and started working so that a junior high school could be established. They managed to receive private sponsorship to get the school year started and they are looking forward to seeing the first generation of graduates in eight years from now.
In its first year 50 students enrolled in the different grades. Young students surprised everyone by maintaining a grade average of more than 82 points during the school year, which demonstrated their strong interest and willingness to study and take advantage of the opportunities they are being given.
The first High School with no tuition cost was opened in Santa Eulalia. Students have the opportunity to specialize in a short career prior to the university to learn technical skills and abilities.
Even with the challenges that the covid-19 pandemic unleashed in the school sector, six young students graduated from Community Development Expert, who are now looking for new opportunities that promote their profession and community development.
Under the spirit of entrepreneurship, the school in Cocolá Grande has shown a strong impact on the educational development of the communities, as this is the only school in the area with three levels of schooling. More than 250 children and young people from the surroundings villages attend to it; they priorly had to travel between 3 to 5 hours, there and back,to go to the nearest school. The school now also has a computer lab and a library with more than 300 books from different learning areas. Students have also developed more than five projects in their community, including a cleaning and recycling project, the creation of a play and entertainment area for elementary school children and the creation of a local food business that allow them to generate profit and invest it in the school.
During 2020, Cocolá Grande started to admit young students coming from far more distant communities that do not have the opportunity to get free local educational access, creating more economic possibilities in their villages.
Despite the challenges of distance learning, the youth of this village remained committed to studying, as did the teachers who sought ways to innovate and maintain a connection with their students.
By 2021, children and young people have returned to the classrooms that they missed so much; These spaces are allowed to dream and are provided with tools and knowledge that will enable them to achieve their goals.
In the map shown below, the location of the eight neighboring communities of the Village of Cocolá Grande that will also be benefited by the implementation of these educational projects, is shown.