By Sister Gloria Xól Chun  |  July 8, 2022

Principle of the Francisco Coll School in Guatemala

The Francisco Coll School is located just outside the Zone 3 garbage dump in Guatemala City. For more than 25 years, Francisco Coll has provided free education for low-income children from families who work as recyclers in the dump. The school was inaugurated in 1994 and has been stewarded by the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciata, in partnership with International Samaritan, to provide for the education, food, and health needs of the children and families. 

While the mission of Francisco Coll has weathered the test of time, the building has not. The school is built with block and concrete, which is prone to cracking. The land where the school  is located is unstable since it is filled with garbage and compacted fill dirt. As time passed, the walls and ceiling suffered a lot of damage, such as cracks on the walls, ceiling, and floor.

By 2021 the building was so damaged that water was seeping into the classrooms and administrative offices during the rainy season. This caused substantial damage to the learning materials and the learning process. Students and teachers were getting rained on while trying to conduct lessons.

That’s when we turned to our long-time partner, International Samaritan, who approved our request and began plans for roof reconstruction with us. There was great joy and happiness upon receiving approval for the project from not only the administration, but the entire community reliant upon Francisco Coll. It was a light on the path of the educational mission in the dump.

The project was successfully executed in the months of March, April, and May of 2022. At the end of May, when the rainy season began in Guatemala, the first rains made everyone fear that the building would flood once more… but it did not. The dream of having a new roof had become a reality. The impact is so great and positive. The benefit is for the entire educational community of 280 students, 211 families, and 17 team members. Materials and work equipment are also protected and sheltered. The classrooms are without water leaks despite the exceptionally heavy rains of this year.

Our students share their happiness and thanks. They feel that there are people who appreciate and love them since they see the great benefits that are offered to them: a quality and complete education, food, chapel, sports facilities, a health clinic and nursing facility, protection from the gang violence beyond the school walls, and now a NEW QUALITY ROOF!

Thank you, International Samaritan, for dignifying the lives of the families in the garbage dump, for being a light in their path, and for providing them the opportunity to feel wanted and loved! Education is a fundamental part of changing lives.

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