Roberto Carcelen Foundation Student Spotlight: Frank Franco


The Roberto Carcelen Foundation aims to help underprivileged children in Peru break their cycle of poverty through technical training and education. One such student that succeeded with our program is Frank Franco.

When Frank first came to the Foundation he was 22-years old and incredibly shy. He was the kind of young man who would be polite but not take too much time to engage with you – hellos, goodbyes, pleasantries. He was a young man with manners but who had not yet blossomed.

Fast forward to September 2016. Frank is one of the most successful graduates to ever step foot into any Roberto Carcelen Foundation program.


Humble Beginnings

Like many children we see come through the foundation, Frank was a child in a larger family that could never catch a real break. He had five siblings and his parents to look after in the Shipibo community of Cantagallo, Lima, Peru. This small area 10 minutes from the capital was underprivileged, and Frank had to put school aside in order to get a job.

Instead of going to classes, Frank worked in a sweatshop for 12 hours a day, and sometimes more, making backpacks – backpacks that he would ironically never use like others would for their own education. The extreme labor from dusk until dawn was treacherous, but Frank bit the bullet to support his family. This was also his duty as the eldest sibling.

Frank also would help his mother to sell necklaces at a local beach. When tourists and passersby would call the pair “charapas,” a sort of Spanish slur used in the area to denote a lower class person, he felt downtrodden.

“At that moment I felt discriminated against. I felt so helpless.”


Life with the Roberto Carcelen Foundation

Frank’s sister was actually the first in his family to pass through the foundation, and she came home to tell Frank of her own successes with our programs. She told him what went on in the foundation and how she was being taught and helped in order to finally find a better life for herself and her family. She convinced her brother to come with her and a match made in heaven was born.

Again, Frank was initially very timid, but he quickly found his footing. After the Roberto Carcelen Foundation began to teach Frank web development and programming skills, he found that he could be successful as well. After Frank graduated the program himself, he became a professor with the foundation in order to teach others.

Prior to the foundation, Frank felt like he was a young man being taken advantage of and looked down upon, but now he’s found both confidence and success. He has time to spend with his family now that he’s no longer forced to work 12 hour days in a sweatshop. Now Frank spends his days relaxing with his siblings and parents when he’s not teaching a new generation of foundation kids how to code and break their own cycles.

According to Frank, “The Roberto Carcelen Foundation has changed my life.” Because of the education provided by the Roberto Carcelen Foundation, Frank has the tools for success – but also for happiness.


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