Rundmail Guatemala,

Support for the Francisco Coll School and scholarships (becas) for young women by the foundation “Thinking Backwards and Forwards, RUVD”

Travel report by Heike Kammer 2024
This report is interesting for people who donate to RUVD and/or for the becas (scholarships) for the education of girls. Young women are trained to promote health care and primary education in remote villages. At the same time, it strengthens their self-esteem and they can help themselves and their families.The tenants of a three-party house near Munich, for example, do contribute the majority of the money (34,500 euro in 2023). The tenants know where their money goes and the sisters in Guatemala know where the money mainly comes from. But the small donations from friends in Berlin are also important to give more young women a chance.

I call these young women becadas in the report. I don't know how many becadas have finished their training, how many are working and how many are currently being supported.

As I have the opportunity to travel and meet people, I can give you some vivid impressions here.

Francisco Coll school in the residential area of the garbage dump

I started by visiting the Francisco Coll school in the residential area of the garbage dump. This is supported by RUVD with breakfast for the children, and at times also with food for the poorest families due to the covid crisis.

It was the first day of school after the vacations, for the first classes even the very first day of school. There are 6 school years and the children sat in the courtyard, organized by class. Principal Gloria led prayers and explained the school rules. All the teachers introduced themselves, parents waited at the gate and were happy that their children were not crying.
Then we went into the classrooms. Next door there is a larger courtyard and a chapel. The chapel became a theater room and the children came in groups to watch the puppet show. Anita has her kitchen in the courtyard and there are school meals, which are co-financed by RUVD.
Some children bring their own breakfast and get what they need from Anita. Those who are hungrier get second helpings. There are tables and benches where they eat. Later there is time to run around.

The teachers seem very committed, the children very happy and peaceful. However, there is always violence in the neighborhood between rival gangs.

If things work out, they will receive support from brothers again from the middle of the year for tutoring. They are young men in training. Every six months, the teachers check to see who needs tutoring. Personal tutoring or tutoring in small groups is very helpful. Otherwise there are up to 40 children in a class.
Prayers and faith are important, Bible quotes are translated into social behavior and are thus an important message The sisters apply for state payment for the teachers and thus achieve the wages for some of their colleagues and thus also can cover part of the school lunch.

Karla , the law student in Cahabon

Karla is the first becada to study law. She says she wants to open a lawyer's office for women. So far, there have only been male lawyers in Cahabon who do not stand up for women's rights. Karla works in the mornings in the library of the sisters' boarding school. There she helps the schoolgirls to understand their assignments or to search for something on the computer. She earns 1000 quetzales a month and lives with her parents and siblings in Cahabon. The families make candles and sell them at the market. Karla goes to university in Coban on Saturdays. The bus leaves at 3 a.m. and takes 4 hours, then a kind of cab to the university. She rents a room to stay overnight as she doesn't get a bus back until Sunday.  Without the beca she would not be able to finance her studies and is very grateful. She is proud that her grades have improved since the lessons took place in person. She showed me around her home, her family makes candles which they sell at the market


There are already some trained health workers in Lancetillo and they organized a meeting and invited me and the sisters to dinner.
Almost all of the 9 health workers have a good job and are very satisfied. At the state health center, they earn the minimum wage of around 3000 quetzales, just under 400 euros a month. After 20 years in government service, they can retire. Others have their own pharmacy or work in pharmacies. Their own pharmacies are financed with loans or have already been paid off.
The new becadas have just traveled to Nebaj there are therefore not at the meeting. One of them is the niece of someone who already has a farmacia and is working there during the vacations. They are all very grateful. But they say that others are ungrateful because they didn't come and never get in touch. One has migrated to the USA.

Some asked if they could get a beca to continue their studies. Now they have a diploma and can do more, e.g. ultrasonido. It takes almost 4 years, always Saturday in Uspantan. They need money mainly for colegiatura uniform and other materials. However, the equipment for ultrasonido is very expensive and CAP already has one.

I asked the sisters for their opinion. They say 3000 quetzales a month is a good wage for Lancetillo and if they work they can pay for their studies themselves. Education is more important for girls who don't have anything yet.

It seems to me that Lancetillo is well supplied with enfermeras, so it would be more important to improve education and health care in the countryside. Unfortunately I couldn't go there because I don't know where to go, because I would have liked to see how the young women work in the countryside.


A first meeting with Lesly. She gets a beca from RUVD and studies enfermeria profesional in Quiche She has a difficult history. Her mother died of cancer when Lesly was 11 and her father died of alcohol when Lesly was 15. Since then she lives with her aunt and does the housework. She gets food and sleep but no wages. Sometimes she earns some money by giving injections. With the Beca she can study and is very grateful. It is important to her to help others and to be friendly with patients. During her internship, she also goes to the countryside. She is often supported by midwives who have the best knowledge. She does not yet know where she will work later. She studies every Saturday in Quiche.
Meeting with girls who are still studying. 2 are going to be teachers, one wants to work in the lab. They write thank-you letters here.

The main focus for the becadas is usually the personal help they receive and help for the family, e.g. a teacher-to-be lives with a sick mother in poverty without electricity and water. Every beca is hope for a better life and at least a little personal help that brings a big improvement for poor children.