BECA is a 501(c)3 organization that recruits, trains, and supports native English-speaking volunteer teachers to staff a network of community-run bilingual schools in Honduras that serve low-income communities.
Bilingual Education for Central America exists to promote cultural exchange and affordable bilingual education. Our volunteer driven bilingual school model creates an environment in which Central American students learn from dedicated volunteer teachers, and those volunteers learn from the community in which they are immersed.
BECA founder Jaime Koppel first traveled to Honduras in 2001 to serve as a teacher and Administrator for a fledgling bilingual school that was established to aid low-income students in Cofradia, Cortes. Two years later, while working with families from the same community, Jaime set up BECA as a US-based non-profit organization to support San Jeronimo Bilingual School (SJBS), a new school for low-income students that would be operated by local Honduran stakeholders.
BECA entered into an agreement with SJBS parents in 2004 and on September 1 of that year, SJBS opened as BECA’s first community-partner school. It was built as a labor of love with community members working together to purchase materials and construct the school in their free time over the course of four months.
Since the 2004-2005 school year, SJBS has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of the quality of education provided, the resources available to students and teachers, and improvements to the building and grounds. Likewise, BECA has worked to professionalize its activities: creating a 6-week teacher training institute, drafting its own custom curriculum, and implementing policies and procedures to govern the school year.
In recent years, BECA has expanded our outreach and now partners with three community-based organizations in Honduras. Our team of about 30 volunteers and 20 Honduran co-workers provide a bilingual education to over 600 students, Pre-K – 9th grade.