Limitless Horizons Ixil

Limitless Horizons Ixil's mission is to create opportunities for the indigenous youth, women, and families of Chajul, Guatemala, to develop the academic and professional skills needed to effect change in their lives and community.
Jul 22, 2015

Cecilia Jacinta shares her experience as a Saber Sin Limites library intern

Cecilia Jacinta at work
Cecilia Jacinta at work

“I started working in the Saber Sin Límites community library in March. Thanks to Limitless Horizons Ixil, I have the opportunity to work with the children and learn from the librarians. My experience has been so great so far! I learned about how to sort books—I did not know about that or how to do it before. For instance, each book has a different tag and they are classified in alphabetical order. I am very grateful to the librarians for teaching me so well and supporting me as I learn.

The library is great space for children and youth of Chajul. We have members from different ages and different schools, and they all come to the library for different reasons. The library is separated in three different areas—the children's area is dedicated to the members who are less than six years old, the research area is where older members can do research for their homework, and the study area is where students of all ages can study or read in a quiet space. I have learned that the library has specific rules and a way of functioning. The members greet the librarians when they come in, and they must be polite and respectful of other children and the books. The library members also wear color-coded tags to help them focus and respect the guidelines of the different library spaces and activities. They wear a green tag if they are going to the research area, a blue tag if they are going to read, and a red tag if they are going to draw—and this helps me and the others who work in the library to best support them in their chosen activity as well!

What I like the most about my internship at the library is that I have the opportunity to help children learn how to read and support them throughout their education. It is a great feeling to meet children who do not know how to read when they first come in the library and then to support and to see their reading skills progress thanks to our support and help.”

This is a first-hand account from one of the four Limitless Horizons Ixil high school graduates now participating in our pilot Internship and Training Initiative, translated by Léa Valenti, International Coordinator. Cecilia Jacinta is one of the two Saber Sin Límites library interns who are providing crucial support to the children and youth who rely on the library’s services, while she also gains professional mentorship and skill development for herself provided by Limitless Horizons Ixil staff. We are so proud to see how far Cecilia Jacinta has come since she first started as a middle school student with Limitless Horizons Ixil seven years ago, and to see how great a role model she is for the children and youth of Chajul!

Helping younger members how to read
Helping younger members how to read
Reading a book to a library member
Reading a book to a library member
Jun 22, 2015

Francisco, Esperanza, and Marlena's first semester as Limitless Horizons Ixil's scholars!

Marlena
Marlena

Thanks to your terrific support, we were able to welcome 18 new scholars at the start of the Guatemalan school year in January. And Francisco, Esperanza, and Marlena are three we’d like to highlight! Starting their first year of middle school at the San Gaspar Middle School has been a big change in the lives of the three adolescents, and they would like to thank you and share their impressions on this experience.


Marlena is 14 years old and started school when she was 8. Despite this delayed beginning in her elementary years, Marlena finished her primary studies with exceptional grades and never had to repeat a school year—which is especially notable in Chajul. She enjoys mathematics, and speaks three languages—Ixil, Quiché, and Spanish. Her Spanish literacy and writing skills have considerably improved since participating in our intensive Spanish course a few months ago, and she is very eager to learn. She says that her experience with Limitless Horizons Ixil so far is "great and I feel more comfortable in speaking Spanish. We receive a lot of support for our education and I am very grateful and happy. Without Limitless Horizons Ixil, I could have never gone to middle school. When I am older, I would like to be a secretary because I love to read and write."


Francisco is 13 and started school when he was 7 years old. Unlike many students in Chajul, he also never had to repeat a year of school. This is a testament to his dedication to his studies and the value his family places on education. He says he is very proud to be a Limitless Horizons Ixil scholar and so happy to be able to continue studying into middle school. He also feels lucky to have the support of his family. Francisco would like to be a music teacher, and has already started learning how to play the trumpet in his school band.


Esperanza is 12 years old and started school when she was 6. She is a very bright student. When asked about her experience as a Limitless Horizons Ixil scholar she says: "I really like being a scholar at Limitless Horizons Ixil because I love going to school, studying, and learning new things and I wouldn’t be able to do those things without this opportunity. I would like to be a teacher in Chajul so I can help the community."


These three bright youth have big aspirations for their futures and we could not be happier to have such enthusiastic students who so avidly participate in the weekly activities of our Youth Development Program. These opportunities include computer, Spanish, and tutoring classes, as well as workshops on themes like positive communication, bullying, and teamwork. Because most of the parents of our scholars do not speak or write Spanish, and have never been to school, getting support for their studies can be very challenging for the youth of Chajul outside of what our programs provide.


Community members in Chajul have great hope for their young generations to become positive role models and leaders, and our ability to support this community development is only possible thanks to generous donors like you. We at Limitless Horizons Ixil and the community of Chajul are so grateful for your support!


Thank you!

Esperanza
Esperanza
Francisco
Francisco
Apr 24, 2015

Trailblazing a new lending system at the Saber Sin Limites (Limitless Knowledge) Community Library!

Ana and her favorite book
Ana and her favorite book

As the first and only one of its kind in Chajul, the community library is creating new precedents with its literacy initiatives and through the provision of crucial educational resources. Thanks to your continued support, we are piloting a new book lending system for Limitless Horizons Ixil scholars and their peers at San Gaspar middle school. 

Since the beginning of March, eligible library members have been able to borrow up to a book a week from our diverse collection of lending materials. Our librarians partnered with the teachers at San Gaspar to describe how the lending system works to their students. Book lending is a new concept in Chajul, and it was important to explain this exciting new opportunity to be able to bring books home. Our librarian David is excited about the new system and believes that this resource is important as it teaches the beneficiaries to be responsible for the book, to make sure it does not get damaged or lost. Moreover, it also creates a habit of reading outside of the library and in member’s homes. This trailblazing initiative is an important tenet of Limitless Horizons Ixil’s holistic model, which seeks to create community-wide change and develop a culture of literacy that will benefit not only individual library users but also their parents and siblings!

Ana, one of our interns at the library, has already borrowed three books thanks to the lending system. She thinks it is an excellent new project because she can now continue reading long books into the evenings (she particularly loves tales of adventure) and can read stories to her parents and siblings at home. This is an important resource for Ana’s family since her mother is illiterate, and she has three young siblings who are at a crucial stage of learning. She is very excited to be able to read even more and hopes the lending system will be fully implemented soon!

We hope that the lending system pilot will be a success so we can offer it to all the library's members. A number of library members have inquired about bringing books home and seem eager to continue reading outside of the library. Introducing a lending system requires patience as we develop an understanding of the responsibilities of borrowing and returning books among library members. Fostering an environment of reading outside of the walls of the library may take time and needs to overcome cultural perceptions around education and gender roles. As David explains, boys in the community, who spend most of their time working in the fields or playing outside, may consider reading to be a feminine activity.  

Thanks to your support we can count on the great work of our librarians to educate our library members and introduce excited and innovative ways to capture their interest! We hope all of the children in our library will be able to borrow books soon and read more!

Reading an enthralling book
Reading an enthralling book
Reading together is more fun!
Reading together is more fun!
Learning how to read with friends
Learning how to read with friends

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