Alan Clayton-Matthews, Northeastern professor, said he has witnessed firsthand one of the reasons why, in Santa María Tzejá, a remote village in Guatemala that saw brutal violence during the 36-year civil war. Townsfolk fled to the mountains and refugee camps in Mexico, but then in the 1990s returned to rebuild the town.
They also built new schools, with the help of the church Clayton-Matthews attends in Needham and other supporters. The village now has a middle school. Villagers and some outside supporters are now raising money for a high school.
“Now a lot of the immigration to the United States from this village is from kids who have either a middle-school education or a high-school education and are coming to the US to make money to support their other siblings,” said Clayton-Matthews, an economist.