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Meso Foundation

The beginnings of Meso Foundation

Rogelia Principal

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.

Woman with her family, parents and kids

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.

Two women sitting together

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.

Woman teaching agriculture to girls

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.

Woman and her children

“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.

Man at graduation

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.

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.

2022: A Year of Overcoming Challenges

Docente hablándole a un público

The 2022 school year comes to a close and will go down in the history of Meso as a year of transcendental changes. After almost two years of isolation and full virtuality, the students of Colegio Mesoamericano wanted to attend school more than ever. Meso had to wait until the Guatemalan government dictated the security measures that would set the tone for the gradual return to school.

At Meso, the classrooms remained empty at the beginning of the year. Empty desks and great silence were all there was. Although quietness reigned in Meso’s facilities, the desire to learn never stopped. Students and teachers shared time and content from home to continue learning.

Four children showing their art work

The assistant principal of Colegio Mesoamericano, Miss Ingrid, highlights that “If there is something we must thank and applaud the teachers for, it is the level of motivation they maintained during these difficult times. They took care of the student’s education and mental health at the same time. They achieved this with the support of Indigo, our emotional intelligence program. Thanks to Indigo, we are aware of our emotions and have learned to validate our feelings. That’s what our teachers did and I admire them for doing that.”

The teachers were able to stay motivated due to the communication and support between them and the school authorities. Teamwork was the key to overcoming that hard season of extended work days. They first had to educate themselves in new technologies and then teach them to the students so that they could learn.

 Teacher working out

Ready to Return

Following government instructions, classes at the school began in June, in a hybrid system. There were long pauses due to quarantines, as the virus was still lurking. But everyone proved to be incredibly flexible in adapting to these changes.

Students learning outdoors

It was not until August that we were able to return completely to face-to-face classes. Little by little, those empty spaces were filled with the joy of the kids who were so happy to see each other again. One thing became evident almost immediately: the social space provided by the school was much needed. They need it to develop their social skills and foster friendships.

It was clear that the priority was to get back to studying, but the teachers had to make room for communication between students, who longed to catch up with their friends. “How have you been?”, ”How are your parents?”, ”You look different!”, and “How much you’ve grown!” These were just some of the phrases that were heard frequently in this reunion.

Parallel to these spontaneous moments of catchup amongst students, Meso also organized educational and recreational activities to promote coexistence among students. These included the Spelling Bee, the Meso’s Got Talent contest, and the Summer Day summer activity. All activities were carried out taking into account the health recommendations and precautions issued by the Guatemalan Government.

Something Unexpected

When everything seemed to be getting better and there was already a sense of stability, the unimaginable happened. Our founder, the mastermind behind the Meso Foundation and the most important pillar of Colegio Mesoamericano, Engineer Julio René Salazar Morán, became seriously ill and passed away on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.

It has been a difficult reality to accept. However, his knowledge, kindness, and passion for helping others are still present. Miss Ingrid assures that “The legacy continues, our commitment to his vision for the school remains strong and we will work to ensure that it is not lost”. It is a fact that both teachers, as well as collaborators of the Meso Foundation and friends, will keep Don Julio’s mission alive: to fight for a happier, healthier, and more prosperous Guatemala.

Man showing children soil

The Renuevo (Renew) Concert was dedicated to Mr. Julio Salazar. An emotional video with pictures and memories of his family was the opening of the event. After that, the show began with several songs chosen by students and music teachers. There was a marimba, and ukulele, as well as other instruments and musical styles.

Children playing violin


In a year as challenging as 2022, finally celebrating the goal of graduation was a very emotional moment, much more so than usual. Although no gowns were worn this year, celebrating it face-to-face elicited a lot of emotions, both in the kids and their parents.

“The parents were very excited because after going through so many difficulties during the pandemic, it felt like it was a very difficult goal to achieve. However, we were able to celebrate the four graduations: pre-school, elementary, middle school, and high school. This year we all started a new stage where we demonstrated that we can achieve our goals, regardless of the circumstances”.  Ingrid de Rojas.

During the ceremony, five students were highlighted as they began studying at Meso from pre-K through high school. 13 wonderful years of growth at Meso.

Children holding diplomas

Looking Ahead to 2023

In addition to catching up on the knowledge backlog, the challenge will be to fully achieve the personalization of education. Miss Ingrid highlights that “This is not something new but it is something we need to reinforce. The pandemic taught us that we must do things differently and one way is to know each of our students and teach them according to their levels. There can be no “one size fits all” in education. There are sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL and we cannot force our kids. As teachers, we must re-educate ourselves and address this need”.

The Meso English Academy provided vital support so that the students did not fall behind in their English learning. The students who wish to go to Snow College must take the TOEFL and although this year no one was sent due to the pandemic, the children are motivated to continue learning to achieve this goal in 2023.

Back to School 2022

An Emotional Reunion After Two Years Away

After two years of uncertainty and isolation, we’re happy to announce that Meso students are officially back on campus for the 2022 school year. We’ve created a hybrid model where our students can learn both online and in-person while adhering to the COVID-19 precautions mandated by the ministry of education in Guatemala. 

Students are currently learning on campus four days per week and remotely one day per week. While our students and teachers are excited to be back, it’s a huge adjustment from the completely virtual learning everyone’s grown accustomed to over the past two years. 

So far, the return to in-person learning has been equally heartwarming and heartbreaking for our students. Meso is like a second home to them, and coming back after so long without access to our campus and staff has been incredibly emotional.

Our teachers were given strict instructions from government mandates that they were not to hug or have any close contact. However, as children poured into the school, many failed to contain their emotions, crying and hugging their beloved teachers after what seemed like a lifetime apart. 

Our teachers reported many joyful reunions and many moments of extreme anxiety as we carefully returned to school. To many, our beautiful campus had become a faded ideal, a long-lost dream of the past.

Preparing our abandoned campus for the moment of reunion took an incredible amount of thoughtful planning and hard work as well. Putting the systems, processes, and structure in place that we needed for this transition with the pressure of the ministry of education and the anxiety of parents and staff, was a huge accomplishment orchestrated by our superstar admin team and executed beautifully by our amazing teachers and staff. We’re very happy to report that we’ll continue resuming in-person classes little by little as we’re given the green light from the government.

We’re grateful for your support and contribution in this time of growth and challenge. Together, one person at a time, one moment at a time, we build a better future for Guatemala and the world.