The Frances and Henry Riecken Foundation, Inc.

We offer Central Americans hope and the opportunity to overcome poverty by promoting democracy and prosperity through community libraries that spark a spirit of discovery and foster citizen participation.
Jul 21, 2014

Riecken Community Library of Parramos, begin their activities!

Hora de cuento en la biblioteca
Hora de cuento en la biblioteca

The library has an average of 347 visits per month (children: 180, young people: 114, and adults: 53). Weekly training is provided in story times to children aged six to nine, working jointly with elementary school, and care for the elderly. The transparency corner and thematic exhibitions of books and resources are kept updated. Monthly free computer workshops and crafts, as well as cultural and education activities are provided in coordination with teachers. In short, it is intended to promote youth leadership development programming.

The largest investment for the construction and allocation of resources amounted to $50,000 thanks to the generous gift from the Kilkenny family. The municipality of Parramos, local community management, and the Riecken Foundation supplemented this donation.

Thanks Kilkenny family for sharing our mission of promoting prosperity and democracy in Central America through Riecken Community Libraries!

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Feb 28, 2014

A New Library in Parramos

The Technology Corner
The Technology Corner

The following is a postcard from Lydia Sorensen, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Guatemala, about her recent visit to The Frances and Henry Riecken Foundation.

In the community of Parramos, about a half hour outside the city of Antigua, Guatemala, sits a new library that any town would be proud to call their own. Completed just last week, it's already abuzz with children darting in and out as Hans and Marta (the librarians) teach word games and chess. Its yellow walls and cool tile floors shine as a beacon of hope in the middle of a dusty field that the community hopes will someday hold a school as well.

Back in a quiet corner next to a bookshelf holding the technology related books, are three new Apple computers. More and more Guatemalans are using the internet for work, school, and fun, but in rural communities like Parramos it’s still not common for families to have their own computers. The library and it’s free computers mean access to a world outside this town, and for some their first opportunity to access learning tools as simple (and yet valuable) as Wikipedia. As Guatemalan public schools are rarely able to adequately prepare students for anything more than the most basic of jobs, access to additional education at the library enables these children and their families to dream of a better future.

Learning the letters
Learning the letters
Word games
Word games
The Parramos library
The Parramos library
Feb 20, 2014

The Hunger for Information is Huge!

Girls telling about their science project.
Girls telling about their science project.

Slowly but surely offline education content is become more and more available.  Last week a group of middle school students told the story of how they completed a science project using RACHEL, the offline educational content available from www.worldpossible.org.  For $100 the content is available using a Raspberry Pi.  As the girls have yet to have access to badly needed computers or tablets they shared a single wi-fi enabled phone.  One of them used the phone to access the content while the others took notes.  Using the information from the Spanish language version of RACHEL they were able to build a drip irrigation system using recycled liter-size plastic bottles.  Just think what they could do with computers and tablets rather than just a single phone!

The library in Xolsacmaljá, Totonicapán, Guatemala eagerly awaits your help in providing new computers and tablets to make the offline educational content available to all of the girls and women in their community.  The feedback that we are getting is that the greatest usage is for doing research for homework.  RACHEL allows users to search Wikipedia without having access to the internet and to watch Khan Academy math and science videos in Spanish WITHOUT internet.  We look forward to being able to offer technology based educational content to everyone with an interest and there are many.

Library waiting for tech has a new paint job.
Library waiting for tech has a new paint job.

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