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.
Nov 1, 2011

Lots of local interest in the project

Playing and learning at the same time
Playing and learning at the same time

During this month one mother with two children has joined the group plus five more small children that are attending it on their own.  The children have been very active and curious about the activities and games that are part of the pre-reading techniques.  Thanks to your kind donations the children’s corner at the library has now more educational materials, games and small chairs and tables.  The mothers are very enthusiastic to see their children start to pronounce the vowels, the letters and to recognize their shape.  Some of these mothers don’t know how to read and write themselves.  Also they are learning about hygiene practices to prepare food and their proper storage.

 We have new important partners to make this program more efficient and measurable.  They are a coordinator from the local health center who talked about nutrition in the last session and registered the weight and height of the attending children; and a student from the Rafael Landivar University who is evaluating the program and developing tools to measure the program’s impact in the children’s learning process.

As this program is becoming more popular in the town of Chiche, more mothers and children are joining it.  We need your support to attend them all and make sure that they have a healthy head start in their education process and eventually become successful citizens.   

Each week more children and parents arrive
Each week more children and parents arrive
Local official now coming to weigh the children
Local official now coming to weigh the children

Links:

Oct 17, 2011

Reading and Self-Esteem for Girls in Guatemala

Older women often sign in with a thumbprint
Older women often sign in with a thumbprint

We are hoping to get this project fully funded by the end of the year so that we might expand the program to include even more girls.  Women and girls in rural Guatemala are second class citizens and only with the power of knowledge is that going to change.  If we can help girls learn to read and gain access to books they will have the most basic key to a better life.  When we are fully funded we hope to launch "girls only" book clubs encourage the girls to not only read to to communicate with each other about what they have read and to gain confidence in numbers.  Discussions about their reading will also enhance critical thinking skills which are not addressed in the Guatemalan education system.  

After multiple visits to the libraries offering enhanced girl reader programming I often see an increase in the number of girls in the libraries and also see gains in their confidence level.  With unlimited access to information because of their reading skills young girls in Guatemala can truly change their world.  

Mother and daughter reading in Chiche
Mother and daughter reading in Chiche
Reading in a rural community
Reading in a rural community

Links:

Sep 30, 2011

Rural book deliveries in Honduras

Mounted book deliveries
Mounted book deliveries

I recently participated in book deliveries in two, very rural indigenous (Chorti) communities in the Copan Ruinas region of Honduras.  In one case there is already in place a single bookcase containing no more than 100 books.  A community leader described this "bibliomovil" (mobile library) as the "soul of the community."  Books are delivered a few at a time by horseback to this community.  Books for all age groups are included and the books area also user to story hours conducted by Riecken Community Libraries volunteers in the local kindergarten.  With a 4-wheel drive vehicle equipped as a mobile library we could deliver more books to more communities reaching more eager readers. We have a long ways to go to achieve our funding goal.  Every little bit helps.  

The "soul" of the community, their library.
The "soul" of the community, their library.
Story hour with delivered books
Story hour with delivered books

Links:

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