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.
Nov 23, 2016

Women Leaders for Community Success in Guatemala

Victoria Caal, a Leader women of San Juan Chamelco
Victoria Caal, a Leader women of San Juan Chamelco

The Riecken proposal is based on the idea that when women in rural communities strengthen their leadership skills and abilities, and are provided participation and entrepreneurship opportunities at the community level, there will be an increase in positive community development and improvement of quality of life in the communities.

Business projects that they generate will likely be more sustainable and have greater impact, both at the level of income-generation (business centers) and health (early stimulation and nutrition, etc.). BFB and Riecken Libraries support social entrepreneurs' local initiatives (income generation, health promotion, literacy, advocacy, etc.) that promote the human, organizational, and social capabilities of rural women of Guatemala.

For combat the women social exclusion, Community Library Gabriela Mistral in San Juan Chamelco improve a new Management Bussines Service to for innovate the production of artisanal products made by women for its commercialization in local markets. San Juan Chamelco is a village of Alta Verapaz (Guatemala), with an average of 58,000 of population. Most of the population (89%) talk in Quekchí, Poqomchí language and Spanish; Local economy is based in traditional crafts and agriculture. In San Juan Chamelco, 8 out of 10 people are poor: 78.2% population lives in poverty conditions, and of these, approximately 37.7 % in extreme poverty. Community Library Gabriela Mistral serve approximately 774 highly engaged monthly, being more than 90% Quekchí Mayan People.

One of this leader women in San Juan Chamelco is Victoria Caal. She's 46 years old, Neighborhood of Chitubtu (San Juan Chamelco, Alta Verapaz).

“Being in the women's project has given me the opportunity to discover my abilities and skills. Now I know I'm able to learn and to fight for my dreams. I always wanted to learn how to use a computer, but I had not way and I was scared, but thanks to the community library who have thought about our education. Today I have the opportunity I ever imagined. There is much to learn and yes I can.”

Women learning Technology in Chamelco
Women learning Technology in Chamelco
Women are entrepreneurs in Chamelco
Women are entrepreneurs in Chamelco
Oct 2, 2016

Libraries Inspire Hope for a Bright Future

For rural communities in Central America, opportunities to change the life one is born into are hard to find. But in Riecken Community Libraries, people of all ages find hope and opportunities, in places where both can sometimes be hard to find. Our libraries in Honduras and Guatemala help their communities play important roles on the bigger world stage.

For example, rural communities of the region have serious environmental problems to tackle: deforestation, forest fire, overly-aggressive agriculture, to name a few. Many Riecken Libraries give some focus to environmental issues and sustainability in their local programs.

At the library of Xolsacmalja, a vivero, or seedbed, and greenhouse has been built to produce plants needed in the area, that can help in reforestation. 

This kind of focus also provides positive influence on choices young people in the region make. One young woman of Xolsacmalja decided to study Forest Engineering after two years as a  library volunteer, during which she helped to build the seedbed and learning about the critical role of such projects to the planet. Becoming a professional in the field is now her dream. 

The Community libraries are betting that early childhood children can grow in a healthy environment, being home, school and community, the key areas where critical knowledge and values for life are acquired.
The libraries offer good infant feeding practices through reading, in coordination with health centers, responsible for the size /measurement of children and mothers as well as the diagnosis and findings in the growth of children. The interaction between mothers and parents with the child and community participation is essential.

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Aug 22, 2016

Riecken Community Libraries, a change for the girls

Our librarian girls change the children
Our librarian girls change the children's life

For rural communities in Central America, opportunities to change the life one is born into are hard to find. But for those who learn to read and enjoy a love of books. something powerful can happen, that takes them places never dreamed of.

At Riecken Community Libraries, our library users gain new skills and become linked to each other, to ideas and to opportunities – powerful tools for improving their communities and strengthening their participation in the bigger world.

Women and children are given opportunities to strengthen their leadership and information literacy skills in their communities. By having these doors of discovery opened, they are able to bring about positive change in their rural communities.

For over 20 years, Riecken Community Libraries have offered access to information, leadership development and a safe place to learn and grow in some of the most under-served communities of Guatemala and Honduras. These libraries help:

 

    •    Create lifelong readers

    •    Bridge the digital divide in Central America

    •    Support someone’s first hands-on computer experience

    •    Provide dynamic library programming and community

          outreach

Women using technology
Women using technology

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