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.
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.

Links:

Feb 10, 2014

Feedback from the Moms

Early childhood development leads to school succes
Early childhood development leads to school succes

Recently we had the benefit of a graduate student from the United States evaluating our existing early childhood development and nutrition program as part of her Master's thesis.  Not only did she participate in sessions she also interviewed many of the mothers privately.  The feedback was very positive.  The only complaint was that sessions were not more frequent.  In a perfect world we would, of course, like to offer such sessions on a daily basis.

All of the mothers reported positive changes in their children:  they talked more, they asked more questions, interacted more with other children, showed interest in books and visiting the library.  In addition, the mothers expressed their gratitude for the nutritional information and indicated that they were seeing that their children received adequate protein and vegetables.  

My wish for all of our donors is that you could see the gratitude in the eyes of the mothers of these children.  Many are not literate themselves and, like mothers everywhere, hope for more for their children.  With your ongoing support we can continue to give these mothers hope that their children will succeed as students by getting them started as soon as possible.  Gracias y saludos. 

Links:

Nov 7, 2013

Training for Librarians throughout Central America

Early childhood training for librarians.
Early childhood training for librarians.

Very recently, under the very able leadership of our early dhildhood development expert, Alba Estrada, from Quiche, El Quiche, Guatemala conducted training sessions for our librarians in both Guatemala and Honduras.  The program is being expanded to five communities in Guatemala and ten in Honduras and, with your ongling support, we hope to expand the program to all 65 libraries.  There is no question that pre-literacy activities are crucial to later educational success and there is no question that the nutritional information that is disseminated to the familes is crucial in countries with very high rates of malnutrition.  When asked to report of their experiences after a number of years of attending our first pilot program in Quiche most of the mothers mention first the change in their children after they learned about the need for a varied diet including protein and vegetables. 

Young children should be lively and engaged in all the activities of an early childhood development program rather than listless and inattentive.  With your help we will be able to expand this program throughout the network of 65 communities that we currently serve.  Thank you again for your ongoing support. 

Activites of early childhood development
Activites of early childhood development
Alba showing how to introduce numbers/letters
Alba showing how to introduce numbers/letters

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