In the communities where we work only one in ten children reaches high school. It’s more common for a child like Victor to be malnourished, to be married before the age of eighteen, or to be the victim of domestic violence than it is for him/her to graduate from high school.
With your help we will change that number. Reading Village scholars are reaching Victor and his peers - kids whose parents are illiterate and who don’t have access to books at home - with literacy development activities. They’re building creative and critical thinking skills and Spanish-language fluency so that these kids have the skills they need to finish their educations. Meanwhile, our scholars are graduating from high school unlike so many of their classmates. They are earning higher incomes from their professional jobs, and leading their communities in grassroots development projects like opening public libraries where Victor and his friends learn to read. Together, one generation of leaders is creating another generation of readers.
It’s simple: the cycle of poverty is broken when youth have access to education. Don’t let Victor be a statistic.
Mark your calendars for the Global Giving match day on June 25th. All donations made promptly at 9am (pacific standard time) will be matched 100%. This means that you can double your donation to end illiteracy for one hour only. Don’t miss our matching moment!
Thank you for your partnership in this work.
Spring has sprung. And so has Reading Village! Since our meager beginning with just 6 promoters in 2009, you have helped us reach 75 scholars and more than 10,000 young children. Last year alone two groups of our scholars opened the very first public libraries in their rural Guatemalan villages, and your investments brought innovative literacy activities to 3,000 young children. This is the foundation from which we launched into our fourth community in 2014 and the foundation from which we will continue to grow and deepen our impact in the coming months.
One of the most exciting aspects of our growth is a pilot partnership with Austurias Academy in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Two of our graduates are participating as teaching fellows at this innovative school. They are attending university, learning -- on the job -- the teaching methodology of the school as well as how the school runs. The idea being that at the end of three years they will be able to return to their community and open a school, bringing to their village high quality education that values and empowers young Mayans.
Next week I'm headed down to Guatemala with staff, board members, and Reading Village supporters to catch up with our scholars past and present. During the Learning Journey we'll be sure to send tons of fresh stories and photos your way. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to catch all the action.
Can you believe it? It’s been seven years since we first went to work in Guatemala and five since we started our Leaders and Readers Program. Five years since we first awarded six scholarships and five years since those first scholars changed some 200 lives. Fast forward to the end of 2013 and I’m struck not only by how fast time has flown but by the growth we’ve seen and the impact we’ve had.
The Children - Thousands of children are growing up loving to read, and they now actively seek out books; this alone will change their lives. But they are also learning vocabulary, comprehension and creative and critical thinking skills, which are not taught in school.
The Teens - We're thrilled to report that 100% of teens who complete our program graduate from high school . And they are transformed from timid and quiet adolescents into bold leaders. Our scholars are not only leaving behind them a generation of readers they are also leading the transformation of their communities in the development of libraries and community centers in their villages – the first ever in their towns!
The Graduates - Our graduates are earning competitive salaries as teachers, librarians, nurses, health workers, literacy promoters, administrators and bookkeepers. And, to our delight, they are forming a network of program alumni to remain connected to each other and further the development of their communities. I am moved by all that these youth dare to accomplish.
The dreams of all the children, teens, and graduates constantly inspire us to deepen our impact. In 2014 we will launch into our fourth community, we will serve 51 scholars and 3,000 children. We will also pilot a fellowship program with the innovative Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango - the second largest city in Guatemala, about 90 minutes from our partner communities. Two of our alumni will teach at the K-12 school, be mentored in the school's unique methodology, as well as receive scholarships to continue their university studies. This is just the next step in developing leaders who will come back to lift up their communities. It's a great honor, joy and privilege to watch them rise to the challenges in front of them and grow in their abilities.
As the year winds down and we look forward to all that lies ahead, I want to thank you for your partnership in this important work. Happy New Year from everyone at Reading Village!