We have raised $15,682 thus far with only $2,318 more needed in order to get more books into the hands of young Guatemalan girls. Not only do they need books but, believe it or not, they someone to help them appreciate stories and all the information that books can offer. Traditionally, in Guatemala, books mean studying rather than pleasure. With the story hours and book clubs that we offer young girls learn to enjoy books. Quite obviously once they learn to enjoy books we are challenged to provide new books in order to satisfy their new found interest. Recently we visited a town where the librarian had organized a school day totally focused on books with games and contests. It was very rewarding to watch so many girls be so interested in the books. Recently, we received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (see link below) to strengthen our network of libraries but we still need your help to fund special projects such as promoting reading to girls. No donation is too small. Muchas gracias.
Marta is in the sixth grade. She is 12 but is the size of an 8 year old due to malnutrition in her earlier years. She lives in the village of San Andreas Osuna, Escuintla, Guatemala. Marta's mother is blind due to having had a tumor removed. Several years ago Marta received nutritional support from a development organization and though Marta is small for her age she is now healthy as she still receives monthly donations of healthy food. Marta also receives support from an American donor to cover her school expenses. Recently, she very proudly displayed her workbooks from school along with various projects. She also had two brand new textbooks, one in math and one in science, which were recently distributed across Guatemala by the government. Marta was very excited that she actually had two books to read. Plans are being discussed to build a library in Marta's village which would give her access to the books that she only dreams about now. With your support soon we will be able expand our Girl Reader program to Marta and her friends in San Andres Osuna. Our goal is to have books in the hands of all of the women and girls in Guatemala one day very soon. Thank you in advance for your help.
Fatima lives in San Juan La Laguna, Solola, Guatemala on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan. In her home she speaks the Mayan language Tzu'tzu'jil; in school she speaks Spanish. Fatima is in the second grade yet, thanks to the Girl Reader program in the village library she is reading well above grade level according to US standards. And a few questions will confirm that Fatima is also understanding what she reads. When asked why learning to read was so important one of the reasons given by a group of girls in the library was so that they could help their parents who were unable to read. They also cited the fact that, if they knew how to read, that they could learn anything that they wanted to. Learning to read and being encouraged to stay in school is just one step towards empowering young girls in Mayan communities. With your continued help we can strengthen this program and expand it to more of the libraries in our network. With your ongoing support we can develop books clubs exclusively for girls which will not only sharpen their reading skills but also self-confidence and creative thinking.
Francis Jaqueline Martinez lives in a remote Chorti village which is a 20-minute ride by four-wheeled drive vehicle from Copán Ruinas, Honduras. When photographed Francis was finishing up her 7th grade science homework next to the family's adobe kitchen. A generation ago Francis would not have been in school, rather she would have been collecting firewood and hauling water with her mother. Francis's father is the leader of this community of about 250 and very appreciative of the tiny "bibliomovile" provided by the Riecken Library in Copán Ruinas, called by another resident, "the soul of our community."We would like to see more books in the little library in Francis' village of San Rafael and we like to have the resources to encourage her to make the trek down the hill to continue her education and utilize the resources of the much bigger library in Copán Ruinas.With your help Francis can become a community leader like her father and she too will see that her children are educated as well. You can also help to ensure that the younger members of Francis's community will also turn into readers. Riecken is currently providing story hours in the village kindergarten.
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.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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