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.
May 31, 2016

A new opportunity for women in Guatemala

Women from San Juan Chamelco (Alta Verapaz)
Women from San Juan Chamelco (Alta Verapaz)

In 2015 were four Centers for Human Development and Management implemented business community libraries: Kak Nojibal (Xolsacmaljá),  Source of Wisdom (San Carlos Sija), Open Windows to the Future (Chiché) y  Rija Tzuul Na Ooj  (San Juan la Laguna) where more than 150 women leaders were reached at community level. In December 2015 an analysis from the Index capacities of community libraries to display the fifth center was made, the process was developed with the group of woodcock and program officers of the Foundation, taking into account elements displayed a potential library were: Board of directors organized, ongoing projects, relationship with the municipal government and accountability in delivery of reports. As a result of evaluating two libraries they were pre-selected. In January 2016 a diagnostic visit was conducted to verify the selected criteria being the library strengthened the Gabriela Mistral Located in San Juan Chamelco the department of Alta Verapáz Cobán. From February 2016 the negotiations for the opening of the new center began. 

The project was carried out in the community with the participation of two women leaders representing two organizations swarm more than 500 women from different communities, 1 leading representative of the women's office of the local municipality, 2 women leaders representing the community library, and 1 representative educational sector and other members of the library board affirmed the need to implement actions that favor women

Municipal Corporation supports the implementation offering internet access, and accommodation of a space within the library also pledged to provide support for activities carried out in favor of women of different communities.

Group of Women in San Carlos Sija (Quetzaltenango)
Group of Women in San Carlos Sija (Quetzaltenango)
Women in action (Xolsacmalja, Totonicapan)
Women in action (Xolsacmalja, Totonicapan)

Links:

Apr 11, 2016

Child nutrition is an affair of all

Mothers of Chiche (Guatemala) in an activity
Mothers of Chiche (Guatemala) in an activity

The Riecken Foundation believes that reading to children from an early age (0-5 years), stimulates the mind, develops language, and builds a base to ensure the success of reading in the future. The parents are childrens’ first teachers; so they need to be provided with tools and activities they can do with their families to promote reading at an early age and develop a reading habit that will continue throughout life.  Riecken’s programs are aimed develop language skills, vocabulary, pre-reading, as well as creating positive experiences with books. Parents also learn techniques and that they practice with their children.  Essentially, the community libraries promote six pre-reading skills that mother, father and baby can develop from birth:

  • Motivation to Books: sparking the interest in children to enjoy books, with the purpose of promoting an approach to them.
  • Vocabulary: in the first week of life, the baby can vocalize at the same time that mother does.
  • Becoming familiar with the writing: engage the children with reading, use exercises that show drawings, shapes, people, and animals, not only with figures but with written words.
  • Knowledge of sounds: help children acquire the ability to hear and play with sounds.
  • Narrative skills: librarians can relate stories and tales to children and help develop the skills in reading readiness.
  • Letter knowledge: the children begin to learn their first letters.

Volunteers and librarian of Riecken community library “Ventanas abiertas al futuro”, in Chiché Guatemala, are implementing this program with a nutritional focus, which offers a lot of activities to help mothers to develop their abilities in child nutrition.

In this month, 50 women are trained about the importance of good habits in nutrition and their roles in the children nutrition. Also, the library organized a conference “I’m a women and I’m important for my community” for celebrating the International Women Day.

A mother of Chiche stimulates to her child
A mother of Chiche stimulates to her child

Links:

Mar 2, 2016

Respecting and Preserving Cultural Identity: Women in action!

Women participates in Book process
Women participates in Book process

For over 20 years, Riecken Community Libraries - each a partnership of the Riecken Foundation, local communities and their local governments - have offered access to information, leadership development and a safe place to learn and grow in some of the most underserved communities of Guatemala and Honduras.

• 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

 

February 21st is International Mother Language Day (IMLD), a worldwide annual observance held to promote peace through awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was formally recognized by the UN General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages. For Riecken Community Libraries, our active promotion of literature and books in native languages alongside Spanish, is a perfect example of the spirit of International Mother Language Day, and tightly aligns our work with the UN Sustainable Development Goal of preserving cultural identity agreed upon in September 2015.

The creation of such books has been an ongoing project bringing people of all ages to collaborate in writing, illustrating and producing high quality books about their own communities for their local libraries. Participating communities have included Chiché, El Quiché; Copan Ruinas, Copan; Xolsacmaljá, Totonicapán; San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, San Carlos Sija, Huitán and Cabricán in Quetzaltenango. Supported by funding partnerships for a creative and educational process coordinated by The Riecken Foundation, the project brings publishers, local library directors, writers and artists, plus a host of volunteers to compile and publish oral histories and folktales narrated by Mayan elders in their communities. One book, The Tzijolaj: Mayan Kiche Oral Tradition (oral maya kiché, Ri Tzijol Aj), was compiled with the Mayan people of Chiché (El Quiché) and produced as an audio book!

The project, with a very high women participation, aims to conserve traditional culture, inspire creativity, and value diversity. Bilingual literature in Spanish and Mayan languages is rare in Guatemala and the region, and the books empower local people to express their traditions and values in word and art through high quality materials.  

Links:

 
   

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