In early March a team of Rotarians from California will be visiting the pilot early childhood development project. The hope is to develop a large Rotary grant which will provide training for librarians in 64 Riecken Community Libraries in both Guatemala and Honduras. This is very exciting as it could provide real change in Central America by providing early literacy stimulation and nutritional information to, perhaps, thousands of toddlers giving them a much better chance to succeed as students.
A donor has provided the 2013 salary for the project director, Alba Estrada, but there are ongoing expenses to purchase new and replacement materials. In addition, the project provides healthy snacks (along with the nutritional information) four times a week. A recent presentation on the health benefits of vegetables was accompanied by a cucumber and tomato snack.
The hoped for Rotary grant will provide early childhood development training throughout the network of libraries. We continue to need your support to purchase the necessary educational materials. We thank you for your support thus far and hope that you will continue to follow our progress with the littlest and often neediest kids in rural Central America.
Few could miss the recent "One Billion Rising" movement against violence towards women and girls. Giving girls the chance to learn to read is only one step in this battle. With the ability to read comes the self-confidence necessary to understand that they need not submit to violence simply because they are female. What chance does an illiterate woman or girls have in a macho society?
We are so close to closing out this project so that we might start another one to include even more young girls and more training for our librarians on how to teach literacy to all age groups.
The photo included with this report is a photo of books that your donations have made possible being delivered to our library in San Juan La Laguna at Lake Átitlan. The box contains books requested by the library that are not available for purchase in Guatemala. They were shipped from the US and driven to the lake where they were loaded on a boat and then a tuk tuk for delivery to the library.
We thank you for your past support and hope that you will continue to help us forge ahead in building both reading skills and self-confidence in young girls in Guatemala.
In the rural, Chorti communities surrounding Copan Ruinas, Honduras there are ten communities high up in the hills waiting and hoping for the arrival of a "bibliobus." Currently, each community has a small supply of books provided by the Riecken library in Copan Ruinas. When it is possible to navigate the unpaved roads with either a four-wheel drive vehicle or horses the books are rotated among the communities. There are young people in these communities yearning for access to the global community without walking three hours a day to find both electricity and internet. With a bibliobus we could not only provide more books and a lending library but access to the internet using tablet and cellular technology.
Honduras is a country on the verge of being called a "failed state." Our mission is to provide access to information so that the people of Honduras might change that. Each of our 53 libraries in the country could benefit from having a "bibliobus" but we are asking for your help in just getting one up and running. Once we have a prototype we can then go on about raising additional funds for more.
The photo included with this video shows two community reading promotors from the rural communities getting their first look at a Khan Academy math video and an iPad. Now they know what is possible.
We thank you for your donations to date and hope that you will continue to support us in our mission to get more information on wheels to rural communities in Honduras.