Aug 2, 2018

The power of stronger communities

Over half of the communities served by Riecken Community Libraries in Guatemala face very real challenges of violence and gang activity.

Our work maximizes the power of stronger communities to help stem the tide of immigration driven by lack of opportunity and violence. As centers of community development and learning, the Riecken Community Libraries are considered neutral ground and provide some of the only safe choices for the community. Help us provide critical access to information through programs from literacy to early childhood development and nutrition, computer technology to entrepreneurship.

Compared to other nations, Guatemala shows the lowest levels of development in Latin America. A majority of their citizens – particularly in remote and indigenous communities – live in poverty, unable to take care of the most basic needs. With the lowest literacy rates in the region, high unemployment, and an environment where violence and gang activity is on the rise, massive emigration to other countries, often illegally, is creating its own set of challenges.

Riecken Community Libraries help solve these problems, offering safe places where anyone can come to read, have access to information technology, and participate in dynamic programs relevant to the community. Our unique partnerships between local community, municipal government and the Riecken Foundation maximize all resources, including your contributions.

An example how libraries change lives is Vil da, from San Carlos SIja.

She walks 20 minutes every Monday from home to the library and that does not stop her from getting to receive the workshops. Since childhood she has suffered bullying since she is Deaf-Mute, She only studied until the third grade because they thought that because of her disability. Vilda was not going to be able to do anything for her life and she had to dedicate herself to domestic chores in her home.

However, Vilda's grandmother involved her in the library project process; step by step, she has adapted and got ahead by means of the support she was given in the development center. Today Vilda, despite her disability, has developed individual and collective skills as well as her self-esteem and outstanding participation in the activities promoted by the group of women who have helped her sell her products with family and friends in her community.

Vilda, a user who library changed life
Vilda, a user who library changed life

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Aug 2, 2018

The power of knowledge

Faced with violence and gang activity, communities in Central America benefit from the access to information and programs offered by Riecken Community Libraries. As centers of community development and learning, they are considered neutral ground, providing some of the only safe choices and opportunities for the communities we serve. Please help us stem the tide of immigration through these stabilizing efforts.

Riecken Community Libraries help solve these problems, offering safe places where anyone can come to read, have access to information technology, and participate in dynamic programs relevant to the community. Our unique partnerships between local community, municipal government and the Riecken Foundation maximize all resources, including your contributions.

To help reduce severe educational deficiencies, Riecken Community Libraries’ influence goes beyond their own walls with mobile libraries. We provide resources, complementary programs and training to area schools and teachers to help improve the quality of local education. Trainings on the introduction of technology in the classroom and dynamic techniques for teaching reading have shown measurable results: Teachers are seeing the school performance of their students improve in math and Spanish.

An example how libraries change lives is Jesús from Xolsacmaljá, in Totonicapán. She said us: "I want to tell you that I participate in the group of laying hens in the library. Thank God we have learned a lot here because they help us learn many things; We already know how to make our profit and with the support they give us, we have found places where they give us more training so our animals do not die anymore.

 

I started with 23 hens as the project gave, but now I have 60 because I have saved as they have taught us. I also took out my loan, but I'm going to finish paying and may God bless you for the support you give us”

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May 2, 2018

Women reducing their poverty

women benefited in San Juan Chamelco
women benefited in San Juan Chamelco

“I am part of the group of women at library in San Juan Chamelco. I have had a very difficult life, for many years I was a victim of physical and psychological violence and now I have been able to overcome. Through learning now I can use the computer that has allowed me to develop socially, besides researching how to support to other women victim of violence" says a women benefited by Women for success project of Gabriela Mistral Library, in San Juan Chamelco (Guatemala).

One of the greatest successes of Riecken Community Libraries is how women develop their emotional skills to get ahead. They strengthen their leadership skills and social commitment as individuals. Teamwork and planning means that they themselves can visualize a future of success.

Once women’s group is cohesive, libraries begin to promote entrepreneurial ideas and business skills to improve self-esteem, their personal economy and above all, manage their own lives. Like Miriam, many suffer violence at home or their level of self-esteem is very low. Libraries are a safe and pleasant place to live together.

The Riecken Guatemala Foundation empowers girls and women through its network of community libraries.

Ka´k Nojib´al community library in Xolsacmaljá (Totonicapán) is improving two women entrepreneurship initiatives. These initiatives are beneficiating 12 women who are producing eggs and artisanal fabrics for baby clothes. However, the big impact is the reduction of rural women's poverty. In the 2018 first quarterly, they have generated an average of 2,000 USD with the sales of their products.

Learn more about the work of the Riecken Foundation and its network of community libraries in Guatemala.

Women of Xolsacmalja design artisan fabrics
Women of Xolsacmalja design artisan fabrics

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