Support literacy and learning for 1,500 Maya youth

May 31, 2013

New librarian, 70 new users, and special visitors!

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:

  • We gained 70 new users in March alone!
  • Our newest librarian Lidia hosted her first story hour.
  • We hosted 6 professional librarians from Librarians Without Borders. The highlight of the trip was hearing stories from 4 highly involved youth as they talked about how much they've learned in the library.

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!



Jan 25, 2013

So Much to Celebrate: 2012 in Review

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:

  • Wdoubled the size of our community library by acquiring, renovating, and equipping a new study room. The library now has 4,779 books and over 1,000 members.
  • Our librarians welcomed 250 users weekly, providing them with literacy support, homework help, and a comfortable space to read and study. 
  • Librarians developed and implemented a vacation literacy program for library users, with an average of 85 kids attending every day. 

LHI is also heading in to the new year with some transitions, including three new staff members: Ana Eymi as Local Coordinator, Danielle as International Coordinator, and myself, Clare, as Operations Associate. We look forward to continuing LHI's hard work toward literacy and education in Chajul and we thank you for all your support!
Tantiuxh, gracias, and thank you!
(We really can't say it enough.)
Jan 8, 2013

Wrap-up Party of our Adventures in Reading Program

"Hello!" from kids in Reading Level 2
"Hello!" from kids in Reading Level 2

Happy 2013!

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!

Chocolate-covered bananas for all!
Chocolate-covered bananas for all!
Our dedicated Adventurers received a little award
Our dedicated Adventurers received a little award
Nov 27, 2012

An exciting end to a successful year!

Cartoon time in the library!
Cartoon time in the library!

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!

Singing the welcome song, led by librarian,Tereza.
Singing the welcome song, led by librarian,Tereza.
Renovations done! Story Hour in the new study room
Renovations done! Story Hour in the new study room


Sep 11, 2012

Summer Progress and Fall Plans

Our library staff team!
Our library staff team!

What an exciting summer we've had in the Chajul Community Library!

Thanks to your support, we sent the librarians to training workshops, added over 600 new textbooks and children’s books to the library collection, and got some new shelves to store them on. We are so glad to have expanded our collection, because we now have over 1,000 book-hungry library members! 

Another highlight of this summer for library members and staff was welcoming many wonderful visitors to Chajul. We hosted several student groups as well as a group of American teachers on our annual service learning trip for educators. The visiting teachers worked closely with our librarians, sharing new activity ideas and hosting a reading and game party for hundreds of little library members. The end of the trip culminated with the teachers hosting a series of workshops on teaching methods for Chajul primary school teachers. The workshops were hosted in the library and we used this opportunity to give all participating teachers a tour of space and its resources. Since schools in Chajul have no books or teaching materials, the community library is an incredible resource for them. Some teachers are now bringing their classes to the library to work with the new books. It is so great to see positive change happening every day!

As we roll into fall, the annual school vacation time in Guatemala, we will be expanding literacy programming beyond Story Hour by introducing new school-break activities such as reading buddies and learn to read clubs. Our other big goal for this fall is to convert an unfinished space adjoining the library building into a quiet study/special activities room. This will allow us to hold more than one activity in the library at once, give teachers a space to work with their classes, and give older students their own space to study.

Your continuing support can make these projects a reality!

Library Member Party - face painting!
Library Member Party - face painting!
The space we
The space we'd like to renovate into a study room.

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Project Leader

Alice Stevens

Operations & Development Associate
Chajul, Quiche Guatemala

Where is this project located?

Map of Support literacy and learning for 1,500 Maya youth