Thanks to you, our generous donors, Limitless Horizons Ixil has received fantastic support in 2012-2013 for the early childhood literacy programming in the Saber Sin Límites Community Library. So we're writing to update you on how things continue to grow and how the library is doing overall! The funding we’ve received through our campaign has allowed our local library team to further develop our services from literacy materials, a space conducive to study, academic support, and literacy programming in the library.
The library has had a great growth spurt in recent months! Our local staff led a number of publicity initiatives in Chajul schools to spread the word about the library services offered and the response has been overwhelmingly positive—173 new users registered in June alone! (In our last update, we reported 70 new users in March—so this increase in sign-ups is huge!) Thanks to recent donations from partner organizations and individual donors, the collection of books also continues to grow. The number of registered users is now almost 1,400 and the number of books in the library is greater than 5,000.
Riding this wave of growth, we are focused on deepening the impact of our early childhood literacy program to have the fullest benefit to our youngest library users. Most of our regular users are under the age of 8, the age at which most students in Chajul start school. So, their time in the library is a highly influential introduction to literacy and education as well as an opportunity to bridge educational gaps left by the under-funded and under-resourced local school system.
Story Hour and Reading Club activities provide young readers and pre-literate children structured exposure to the Spanish language and focused comprehension practice. Combining this with creative interaction opportunities such as accompanying art projects allow youth an engaging activity outside of school hours where they can continue to learn, fostering a love of learning.
Our greatest success in the Saber Sin Límites library is certainly its fast-growing popularity among youth in Chajul—there are 50-200 people in the library at the same time during popular activities! This is also the root of our greatest current challenge because of demands on our limited resources.
Looking forward, we are working hard to make the remainder of 2013 a defining period for our library, with improved structure for all library visitors, better time management for our librarians to continue to provide a high level of individual support, and a deeper engagement with early childhood literacy and education methodologies to take full advantage of youth engagement and further develop the positive impact of our programs on education.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in the progress of Chajul’s only community library!
Dear friends of the "Saber Sin Límites" Community Library in Chajul,
March and April were exciting months for the library—the only one that serves the small community of Chajul in the Ixil region of Guatemala. Here are a few of the great successes you helped us achieve:
Opened the attached for details and photos, as well as an update on our Youth Development Program.
In more somber news, Chajul has received international attention recently as former Guatemalan president Ríos Montt has been charged with genocide for massacres that happened in Chajul and nearby communities. Online journal The Globalist published this article by our team member Laura Myers about the perspective from Chajul and what Limitless Horizons Ixil is doing to help the community repair and rebuild.
If you're interested, feel free to reach out and we can send more articles and resources about the trial. But the best way to learn is to come experience Chajul. We'd love to invite you to come meet us here in August! Learn about our "Discover & Serve" trip here.
Let me know if you have any questions or just want to say hi. You make our work possible and we love hearing from you. Thank you for your support!
2012 was a fantastic year because thanks to your support, LHI was able to do incredible work and achieve impressive results. Thank you!
Here are a few of our favorite accomplishments of 2012:
In my last update I told you all about the new school vacation programming called "Adventuras de Lectura" (Adventures in Reading) that we introduced this past year. Well, as the annual school vacation draws to an end here in Chajul, we held a wrap-up party for all of our little Adventurers. The event was just too cute and fun to pass-up on telling and especially showing you about!
This first year was a huge success; 85 kids attended nearly every day for the full 2 months and another 100 attended intermittently. Throughout the program librarians noted discernible improvements in regular participants on areas of listening skills, sharing, oral communication skills, concern for a clean environment and personal hygiene, and Spanish vocabulary.
With your support, we will be able to continue running these activities throughout the new school year, particularly, “Fun with Numbers and Math”, “Spanish Word Fun”, “Reading Buddies”, where little kids are paired with an older youth who can read, and “Theme Time”, a combination of a Story Hour, educational television programming, art activity or dynamic activity that all center on a common theme. Themes of focus include “sharing”, “being a good neighbor”, “personal hygiene”, “being a helpful community member”, and other life-skills. Offering these activities will be especially beneficial to many of our little library members who don't yet attend school, or whose parents cannot afford to send them.
We can't wait to work with you to make this New Year even more fun and educational for the kids of Chajul!
Thanks to your support this year’s school vacation (which is during the fall months in Guatemala) has been extra exciting for kids in Chajul!
The librarians got to attend 2 trainings in Antigua and used their new knowledge to create a full schedule of vacation time programming in the Chajul Community Library. The activities, which are held for 3 different age groups, include: Fun with Math, Learn to Read circles, Spanish vocabulary games, and Story Hour followed by a thematic art activity, television program, or game. Very few kids have a television in their home so our newly acquired TV and DVD player is giving them a unique chance to practice their Spanish comprehension skills and learn valuable life skills through youth television programming. Our creative and dedicated librarians are even matching the theme of the TV show episode with the theme of the Story Hour book they read prior.
As the only provider of organized vacation-time services in Chajul, programming in the community library is providing a unique and invaluable opportunity for kids and their families. The only problem with all of this new excitement is that kids will be extra sad when vacation time is over! Luckily for them though, we are currently using a literacy curriculum developed by the organization Reading Village to develop some great new programming for the upcoming school year.
The other exciting development is that we’ve met our 2nd seasonal goal of completing the renovations of a new study room. We installed a door and windows, fixed the plumbing, sealed and painted the walls and installed lighting fixtures. The extra space has already proven vital for hosting the 45+ children that have been attending each vacation time activity. We are now in the process of contracting tables, chairs, and shelving from local carpenters so that the space will be ready when students hit the books again in January.
With your continued support we can continue to improve literacy rates and educational attainment in Chajul. In fact, there is no better time to give - we are now in the midst of our annual fundraising campaign! Our collaborative partner, the Philanthropiece Foundation, will match all gifts of $100+ until the end of 2012! As if doubling the impact of your contribution wasn't enough, we will also enter all donors giving $200+ by December 1st into a drawing to win an original print from professional photographer Sue Rissberger's Faces of Chajul collection.
Warmest saludos from Chajul!
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