The main focus of this thesis is the local interpretation of human rights by people in a rural community in Guatemala, with a special focus on the right to education. The study of education allowed me to see a particular human right, the right to education, interpreted and contextualized in a small community. I did the fieldwork in San Antonio Palopó, where most people worked as farmers, labourers or weavers. In some ways they live on the margins of the society, as they are poor, discriminated against as indigenous Maya, and many people can neither read, write nor speak Spanish. Most people expressed that education was what they needed to escape poverty, and they wanted their children to learn to speak Spanish and to read and write so that they could participate in the wider society. Still, very few children actually completed their primary education. I have tried to offer some explanations as to why so few children attend school, and argue that one of the reasons is the strong focus on hard work and reciprocity. The Maya have always farmed the land, and to be hard working is a central value in their worldview. School has been seen as something for "the others" or for the lazy ones who did not want to work. While human rights are individually held and inherent for all people, they seem in some ways to conflict with the Maya worldview where the focus is on how one has to deserve rights by first fulfilling one’s obligations. This is also the case for children, who have to work hard and behave well in order to deserve an education.