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About Us

The School of Hope and our Further Education Program supports 679 students and their 385 families. Our extensive education, nutrition, healthcare, social support and employment programs seek to remove any obstacle to education and enable our students to realize their potential.

With our partner Project Apoyo we also run an entrepreneurship program, encouraging young talent to set up their own businesses.

Watch the latest videos from the school and foundation as we continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic.

View our 2019 Annual Report

View our 2019 Tax Return

Our network of partner links and programmes is extensive. We're proud to be outward looking and collaborative. Read all about our partnerships.

Our Vision

That young people from all backgrounds have the ability to access quality education and opportunities for rewarding employment.

Our Mission

Driven by a commitment to equal opportunities, Education for the Children has worked with disadvantaged young people and families from the Jocotenango area since 2003 to access quality education, nutritious food, healthcare and social support.  We aim to empower young people with the skills and confidence to be successful in their chosen careers.

Why Guatemala?

Our founder Sophie McKee, volunteered in Guatemala in 2003 after watching a documentary and being inspired to visit and set up the foundation. It is still one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with shocking rates of violence, illiteracy and malnutrition. 

  • 66% of the population live on less than $2 a day (World Food Programme);
  • 50% of children under five suffer stunted growth and ill health due to chronic malnutrition (World Food Programme);
  • 80% of children will never attend high school (UNESCO)

Eighteen years on, we are proud to be at the heart of the community in Jocotenango, showcasing Guatemala to the world. Its young people and families are talented, creative, culturally diverse and deserve a loud voice.

Our team of sixty staff work hard to create a nurturing environment for all of our students. 

La Escuela de Esperanza (The School of Hope)

Aracely Chajón

Head of Social Services

Aracely started working at the Foundation in 2007 as our first-ever psychologist and today oversees the entire Social Services department, which provides support and assistance to our students in many different ways. Aracely's passion for the students we work with is apparent in her daily work, how well she knows every student and every case. She is integral to the holistic approach which EFTC provides to our students to support their education.

Patricia Castillo

Head of Further Education

Patty has been with the Foundation since its formation and was a part of the team who opened the doors to The School of Hope. She has held many roles in her time here: teacher, Head of Education and now runs our Further Education Department. She oversees, alongside her skilled team, all of our students through High School and University, supporting them during the hardest phase of their education. Patty has grown with these students – some of the students she helps support, guide and counsel today were in her classroom almost 15 years ago.

Kelsey Carlton

Head of Education

Kelsey first joined The School of Hope Education Department in 2017 as our English Coordinator and is now the head of her Department. Kelsey is an experienced teacher from the USA with a Masters of Education in International Education Policy from Harvard. She brings to our team a focus on individualized education and, in 2018, Kelsey piloted the first year of an Inclusive Education programming for our students with learning disabilities. She is passionate about the region and demographic we work with, having studied and worked abroad in Peru as well as collaborated on a USA-based forum which promoted awareness and understanding of the challenges and opportunities of education in Latin America.

Brenda Cay

Head of Primary School

Brenda started working with the Foundation in 2013 as a second-grade teacher. After dedicating herself to further studies and becoming qualified in pedagogy and educational administration practices, she is now the Principal of EFTC´s Elementary School. She guides and supports our teachers through the same process she herself experienced, giving them new tools, strategies, and methods to improve their classes. She loves her work as the students are her biggest inspiration and every day brings new opportunities for growth in her professional life.

Nancy Judith Azurdia

Education Technical Director

Nancy has been with the Foundation since 2010 and is the heart and soul that keeps our Education department running smoothly. She ensures that all teachers get the resources they require for classes, provides focused support to the development of our literacy program, and much more. Nancy is passionate about social change and development, something that is apparent in the care and dedication she brings to the Foundation office every day.

EFTC (Guatemala Office)

Sara Miller

Project Director

Sara, our Project Director, joined EFTC in 2017 as the Visitor and Volunteer Coordinator and then as the Director of Development. Before that, she served in rural Guatemala as a Peace Corps volunteer developing youth focused educational programs as well as worked for various non-profits in fundraising and outreach. The two years she spent working in a rural Guatemalan community showed her the undeniable power of education and opportunity, which fostered her commitment to EFTC and the life changing impact the program makes.

Jennifer McCallum

Assistant to the Foundation Director

Jennifer has been at the Foundation since 2016, what was a short trip has become her passion and her home. She joined the Foundation with a background in International Relations and Development and after years of travelling and volunteering all over the world, including in her home country of Australia, she has found in this Foundation in Guatemala the place that is hardest to leave.

Kellen Buckley

Fundraising & Administration Manager

Kellen was the Volunteer Coordinator for the ESL program at her university, which provided English tutoring to the immigrant and refugee population. She has worked and volunteered with different education programs and NGOs in the US, Spain, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. She believes in the power of education, and loves seeing volunteers from around the world make a positive impact at the School of Hope.

Tephie Zea

Communications Co-ordinator

Tephie joined the Foundation in 2021. After several years helping students develop their technological skills at Colegio Sagrado Corazón de Jesús school in Guatemala City, she joined TECHO Guatemala and was inspired to work with young volunteers constructing housing and promoting social inclusion. Her dual talents of digital-savvy communicator and compassionate teacher make her a natural to take our communications programs to the next level.

Daniela Figueroa

Sponsorship Coordinator

Daniela spent her childhood in Mexico and Venezuela where she had the chance to travel and meet people from many different cultures. She studied Tourism Development at University in Guatemala followed by a masters in Rural Project Development in Spain. In recent years, she's worked as a Central American Tour Guide for Intrepid Travel. She joined as Sponsor Coordinator in spring 2021 and is excited to meet the students and get to know our sponsors.

EFTC (USA Office)

David McKee

Founder and CEO

David is one of the original founders and has been the Chief Executive of the NGO since 2003. He is proud to lead a talented and hardworking team of staff and volunteers in the UK, USA, and Guatemala.

Brien K. Ashdown, Ph.D.

Executive Director of EFTC USA

Brien joined EFTC USA as a member of the Board of Trustees in 2013. After serving in that role for more than 4 years, he took on the role of Executive Director of EFTC USA. He was more than 20 years of experience in Guatemala in addition to his time with EFTC USA, mostly as a researcher and professor of Cultural Psychology and Latin American Students. He travels to Guatemala at least once a year to spend time at The School of Hope. He brings along his students and research assistants as often as possible.

Marika Dragotti

President, EFTC USA Board of Trustees

Marika has worked as a Registered Nurse for over 25 years. After visiting the School of Hope in 2013, she realized, after many years of searching for an organization to support, that she had finally found her home. Transparency, team work, effectiveness, and collaboration with the community were just a few of the reasons she fell in love with EFTC.

Other EFTC USA Board Members

Paige Moffett


Paige, now the USA Board Secretary, originally joined EFTC in 2017 as a 3rd and 4th grade English Teacher, and returned to EFTC for most of 2018 to intern for the English Department Coordinator to help develop curriculum. Before moving to Guatemala to teach at EFTC, she studied experiential education and social justice at the University of Arizona. She currently works for Language South and El Pueblo Spanish Camp as the Director of Experiential Learning in Chattanooga, TN. Paige believes in the team members working at EFTC and their drive and passion to impact our students.

Stephanie Honey-Morrow

Stephanie has been involved with EFTC for 5 years now. She got involved initially through a close friend and fell in love with the kids and the mission on my first trip down. She and some of her fellow nurses and PA's make an annual trip to The School of Hope every fall to assist with medical care at the school, as well as some of the clinics close by. Most members of this group have a child or two that they sponsor and keep in touch with. Stephanie is an ER nurse by trade, as well as a volunteer firefighter and has 3 kids and a grandson.

Damian Graybelle