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.
Feb 23, 2017

Women and young people empowered

Doris Bococ
Doris Bococ

Community libraries in Guatemala promote the human, organizational and social capacities of people, especially young people and women, from a threefold dimension: as an individual (internal skills and strengths and help them to cope with personal challenges), as a social group (organizational skills dnd teamwork) and in their community dimension, the community library being the institutional platform that supports the initiatives of young people and women.

Technology and reading have been powerful tools not only to strengthen their capacity for analysis and critical thinking, but also for young people and women to know more about their civil rights and to organize actions to raise awareness and promote their rights. The community libraries of San Carlos Sija (Quetazaltenango) and Parramos (Chimaltenango) in Guatemala have organized different digital reading clubs with teenage girls.

Other community libraries as San Carlos Sija, San Juan La Laguna, San Juan Chamelco, Chiché and Xolsacmaljá, have trained more than 800 trained women in several topics as to organize fairs of product exhibitions, mainly handicrafts, as well as spaces for dialogue to raise awareness about Discrimination on grounds of sex and violence against women

Doris Amanda Botzoc is a young women of San Juan Chamelco. She participes in the project Women's Leadership Fellowship.

 She says:

"I promote women's leadership in San Juan Chamelco. There are many needs. Women do not trust themselves and in the activities they can carry out or in the potential they have for their development and that of the community at large. Many women do not have support and with this program, they receive talks about self-esteem, computing and the value they have as a woman. "

Reading girls at library
Reading girls at library

Links:

Feb 2, 2017

Health in the Early childhood of Chiche

Health promoters at library
Health promoters at library

Juanita Castro de Chitic. 45 years old, colonia “El Calvario” Área Urbana de Chiché (El Quiché). Biblioteca Comunitaria “Ventanas abiertas al Futuro” .

“Being part of the group is a very pleasant experience, I have grown as a person, but above all I feel valued, I never imagined that I could carry out activities like facing the public. All I learned at library has helped me to grow and value myself. I hope to continue learning and contribute to the development of my community and my family”.

The library Ventanas Abiertas al Futuro of Chiché  has developed a component of prevention of malnutrition from early childhood development program in which parents encourage their children to read for pleasure and learn better infant eating and nutrition habits. There are eight monthly early childhood development sessions with an average attendance of approximately:   

40 mothers learn about the fruits and vegetables’ propierties, using the resources they have in their communities and
feeding their children.

40 mothers put into practice reading techniques that stimulate the creativity of their children.

19 mothers reuse recyclable resources to contribute to the environment, strengthening their creativity, skill and favoring
their family economy.

The Riecken Foundation believe that when women in rural communities strengthen their leadership skills and abilities, and where spaces are opened to allow participation to promote the women and children rights at the community level, there will be an increase in positive community development and improvement of quality of life in the communities. When women learn to self-organize and work in a coordinated manner, they increase their community standing. Right’s promotion activities will then likely be more sustainable and have greater impact. 

Juanita, a woman benefited by the library
Juanita, a woman benefited by the library
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
 
   

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