The seeds of Meso Foundation began with Rogelia Moran, mother of Julio Salazar, founder of Meso Foundation and Colegio Mesoamericano.
Let’s meet Rogelia, Julio’s inspiration, and motivation.
Growing up with loving parents, Rogelia believed that communication was the key to her family’s success, it helped her develop values that would later shape her life full of education, compassion, and a desire to improve the lives of others.
“Even though we lived in rural areas, far from schools, there were always books in our home. That was a great light that my father gave us to illuminate our lives. He always focused on teaching us many things from a young age. When I entered first grade, I already knew how to read and write because my father had taught me. To this day, what surrounds my bed are more than 100 books, and I am always reading”, said Rogelia.
Rogelia’s love of reading transformed into a desire to continue learning and put new skills into practice. Eventually, she realized she wanted to pass on this knowledge to help others less fortunate.
“At a very young age, I started working as a rural teacher. I had the opportunity to study Community Advancement and learned how to raise animals and grow plants. I also took a course in Public Health. I became the director of a social welfare program and we taught mothers about basic tasks that could be applied in their homes. At San Carlos University of Guatemala, I took a course in Hospital Administration. Thanks to this, I learned how to equip and remodel hospitals, and thus help others, especially children in the Elisa Martinez Hospital in Puerto Barrios, Izabal”, recalls Rogelia, who for seven years was the Administrator of that hospital.
Throughout her career, Rogelia educated groups of farmers so that they could learn to better manage their land, animals, and crops. She also educated mothers about the importance of balanced nutrition during breastfeeding and dispelled harmful myths to improve the food security of mothers and their children. Furthermore, Rogelia in the course of her life took many children under her wing, and even informally adopted some of them.
“I’ve been a household consultant. I have visited people in difficult and joyful situations and have always found the opportunity to learn something from them. To this day, the desire to teach and organize is still in me. It makes me sad to see resources wasted everywhere when people don’t have a vision”, explains Rogelia.
All these examples of teaching and helping others did not fall on deaf ears. Her son, Julio was always behind her, listening and learning from her example.
Rogelia recognized that at the early age of 6 years, little Julio had caught on to the idea of helping others. More than once, Rogelia caught him “stealing” some eggs to share with a friend, who always mentioned not having been able to have breakfast. “Those were the actions of a son, seeing his mother who tirelessly helped others. That desire persists in me to this day, I am not tired of helping others, just as my mother taught me. Children learn more by example than by any words we say to them. My mother has taught with her example, about the importance of helping others”, concludes Julio, moved to tears at having his mother by his side.
“By watching my mother, I figured it was worthwhile to do things for others. At home, there were always people my mother helped. Seeing her always in action formed a restlessness in me over the years. First, to do good, and second to cultivate in me and in the new generations the same seed that she sowed in me. I wanted to do something important and meaningful for the people”, recalls Julio, moved by the memories.
Julio was given the opportunity to go to college in the States, graduated as an Industrial Engineer, and proceeded to get a job at Compaq Computer Corporation. However, he never lost the passion to do something meaningful for his country. Two times he quit his job and tried to do a project in Guatemala, and two times he failed and had to go back to the States and regroup. It wasn’t until the third time that he and his former friends got the seed money to start a project. Bye then he and his friends had thought through many potential projects to help Guatemala. They discussed projects based on health care, the environment, social businesses, and many more until they landed on education.
In 1997 Julio and his former friends gave life to the Rose Foundation, now known as Meso Foundation. “First I defined a goal: education was what we wanted to achieve; thus the mission and vision of the Foundation were born. We focused on the skills and abilities that future generations need to succeed in life and we started from there”, explains our founder. Meso Foundation’s mission today is “Empowering the native people of Guatemala with opportunities” and its vision of a “ happier, healthier, more prosperous Guatemala.”
Since the beginning, Meso Foundation has sought to pave paths for the new generations and to provide tools for them to take the journey to success. Rogelia’s advocacy was key in this creation. Her dedication to others and her protective instinct as a mother impacted the lives of many people even outside her own family. Rogelia continues to witness the legacy that she passed on to Julio throughout the growth and success of Colegio Mesoamericano.
We hope that this legacy of kindness and knowledge continues through many years to come so that Julio’s altruistic spirit and revolutionary educational ideas continue to live on.