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Create a Library for 350 Kids in Rural Nicaragua

by From Books to Brilliance
Create a Library for 350 Kids in Rural Nicaragua

We thank you, GlobalGivers! Now first-rate Guatemalan texts are available to all students at the Instituto Básico Comunitario Ak’ Tenamit, a Mayan middle school in the village of Seacacar. These books extend opportunities to their youth like never before. In this small community, where few adults can read and write, limited economic resources are available. Educational Director Emanuel Carrera Requeña explains that the town council is focused on creating opportunity, not dependency, with gender equality for all people that live on the banks of the Sauce River. Here, translated from Spanish, is a recent letter from Emanuel, updating us all.

Hi Friends:

I greet you from Guatemala City. Things have gone spectacularly well for each of the villages at this “Looking for Opportunities” conference. Our days are filled while we work towards completion. We know that all is possible when people have access to education. It is good that the essence of (Seacacar’s) sustainable tourism project is to finance education for the young men and women that live on the shores of the Rio Sauce watershed, so they are able to learn new things in our middle school.

In comparison to prior years, income from tourism has been low due to (local) roadblocks…Nevertheless we are committed to elevate Seacacar through the promotion and publicity of our majestic Seacacar Canyon.

Our student population grows every year; our facilities already are inadequate. For that reason we have put together a temporary classroom on the river’s edge. It doesn’t meet basic requirements, but we think of the phrase “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” We are working on proposals for various non-governmental organizations, and also some for government, to see in what way a classroom construction project could evolve. The work is arduous, but our commitment to bring sustainable tourism to Seacacar is strong.

We hope to greet you this year with positive news for Seacacar. Personally I thank you endlessly for all your effort to raise funds and buy books, or for other projects (the solar-powered library, for example) that will strengthen our community. I send photographs of the boys and girls studying, together with their beloved teachers. I hope that they serve you well. All send hugs to Kim, Debbie and Luke.

Emanuel Carrera Requeña

With good teachers and quality textbooks, Seacacar now has the resources to provide a quality education to more young people in thirteen neighboring villages. Council members are very proud of these educational gains, and are venturing upriver to recruit next year’s students. Paul Heesaker, founder of the Rios Fund and the Seacacar Canyon Natural Reserve tells us, The community wants to extend the help that they have received to others. They are paying it forward!

Five months ago citizens of Paz y Vida gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening of Biblioteca Paz y Vida.  Representatives from the Frankfurt Granada Association, the German Embassy and Luisa Amanda Espinoza Association of Nicaraguan Women (AMNLAE) spoke in celebration of this tiny village library, and the future it would hold.  After all, it was their ingenuity and resources that constructed the building.  It was your begheartedness and From Books to Brilliance’s energy that supplied it with books.

Unfortunately, in July we traveled to Guatemala only.  Due to four months of political unrest our plans to visit Nicaragua are on hold.  We will return to grow Paz y Vida’s Library with your generous donations as soon as travel warnings are lifted and our small team of volunteers can travel safely.  Nonetheless, this rural library continues to operate daily.  For them the chaos of the big cities is distant. 

Please note that lives of citizens young and old continue to improve dramatically.  Just a few years ago all were homeless.  Today in houses with running, potable water, standard flooring and electricity, they live “dignified” lives.  Children no longer gather wood and fetch water every morning.  They attend school and go to Peace and Life Library to do homework, read and play games with friends.  Their future surely looks different from their past.

And so our plans in Paz y Vida are delayed.  From Books to Brilliance’s Board of Directors has decided to remove this project from GlobalGiving…for now.  We thank you for your understanding, and pray that Nicaragua will return quickly to the peaceful country we love so much.

Grand Opening with German Ambassador Ute Konig
Grand Opening with German Ambassador Ute Konig
Grand Opening, Biblioteca Paz y Vida
Grand Opening, Biblioteca Paz y Vida

You definitely won’t need directions.  Just watch and listen for all the action…young readers coming and going, moms checking in on their kids, and from time to time the contagious and hilarious laughter of youth.  You’re now right in front of Biblioteca Paz y Vida.  Meet Marbel, the little library’s coordinator, who introduces its small patrons to so many educational resources.  She manages them all…the books, puzzles, maps, globes, pencils, silly-looking erasers, and the pint-sized tables and chairs, so perfect for Paz y Vida’s enthusiastic learners.

 “Reading is education, and education is a gift to humanity,” says Indira Morales, partner and project manager for the Luisa Amanda Espinoza Association of Nicaraguan Women (AMNLAE).  In March citizens gathered to celebrate that gift at Biblioteca Paz y Vida’s grand opening.  In the spirit of “sisterhood” German ambassador, Ute Konig, congratulated the community.  She spoke of the many individuals and organizations in Nicaragua, Germany and the United States that worked together to create this library.

Remarkable!  Just a few years ago, all Paz y Vida citizens were homeless.  Thanks to AMNLAE’s vision and dedication, all now live in beautiful, small houses with standard flooring, running water and electricity.  Children here no longer fetch water and wood every morning.  They go to school, and to the library.  They do homework and study.  Many come just to read stories, color, or put puzzles together.

The Frankfurt Granada Association and the German Embassy funded the building construction.  You, dear friends, supplied a plethora of books and educational materials.  And GlobalGiving's platform allows us reach out to the world for help.  Biblioteca Paz y Vida is a truly global initiative. Thank you!

 

Grand Opening, with German Ambassador Ute Konig
Grand Opening, with German Ambassador Ute Konig
The library, just the beginning
The library, just the beginning
Introducing Biblioteca Paz y Vida!
Introducing Biblioteca Paz y Vida!
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision...It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. -Andrew Carnegie

February 28th it is!  Biblioteca Paz y Vida will open at last.  Serving citizens young and old, there will be books to read, classes to take, crafts to make and celebrations to attend.

The village of Paz y Vida has you and many others to thank for their new library.  With your generosity, From Books to Brilliance is able to provide everything a nascent library requires...books, paper, maps, globes, puzzles, games, furniture and much more.  However, we do not construct the building, employ the staff, or manage the facility.  For all of that we depend on partners.

Indira Morales, Projects Coordinator for the Association of Nicaraguan Women Luisa A. Espinoza (AMNLAE), is that partner for Biblioteca Paz y Vida.  Last fall, when funds from the Frankfurt Granada Association to construct the building were depleted, Indira wrote to the German Embassy in Managua.  Awarded was a grant to finish the first floor, where Paz y Vida's preschool and the library will coexist.  In the evenings vocational classes will provide adults with new found skills and job opportunities.  This multi-use building will soon become the heartbeat of the community.  

So we say Danke to our German partners, Gracias to our Nicaraguan ones, and Thank you to you.  It is an honor to serve the citizens of Paz y Vida and a privilege to partner with you all.

 

Running water, bathrooms, lights .....all 1st rate
Running water, bathrooms, lights .....all 1st rate
Even the ceiling is beautiful
Even the ceiling is beautiful
First floor, ready to go
First floor, ready to go
Indira Morales, AMNLAE Coordinator, choosing books
Indira Morales, AMNLAE Coordinator, choosing books

Everything about Biblioteca Paz y Vida was planned.  This little village library would occupy the second floor of a two-story multi-use building.  It would be stocked with hundreds of beautiful new children’s books, Nicaraguan textbooks, puzzles, games and art supplies.  The local children would come in daily to study, read and recreate.   After all, the library would be right next door or just down the street.  Teachers would also come to plan their lessons and to tutor children.  Mothers would run the library, knowing that their children were blessed with something they never had, access to books and educational materials.  Peace and Life Library would be just that, one of peace and life.

In addition to the village library, the small, two-street town of Paz y Vida was also vigilantly planned.  Several years ago it was merely vacant land located on the outskirts of Granada.  Then came Indira Morales, Projects Coordinator for the Association of Nicaraguan Women Luisa A. Espinoza (AMNLAE),  and her marvellous construction team.  Women and children that were once homeless now occupy four rows of tiny houses, complete with running water and electricity. 

These sixty-two homes make up the entire town…plus one unfinished multi-use building.   Due to underfunding, construction stopped.  And that, dear supporters, was not in the plans.  Thus, carefully stored in this still single-story structure is a plethora of brand-new books and educational materials, resources purchased in July by From Books to Brilliance volunteers.  Citizens eagerly await the completion of the ceiling, floor and painting before Biblioteca Paz y Vida can unlock their doors and welcome readers.

However, there is great news.  In a proposal to Nicaragua’s German Embassy, long-term partner Indira Morales told the story of this little village and its struggle for a library.  The funding was approved!  “We already have money to finish the construction of the ground floor, which means that soon the library will be functioning,” says Indira.  Years of hard work and persistance finally are coming to fruition.  In January Biblioteca Paz y Vida will open to all.  And planning can resume, this time for a future...a future unlike the past…one of opportunity, hope, peace and life.  

We thank you all!

Paz y Vida row houses...living with dignity
Paz y Vida row houses...living with dignity
Age and culturally appropriate books
Age and culturally appropriate books
Our library will open soon!
Our library will open soon!
Four librarians, ready to go to work!
Four librarians, ready to go to work!
 

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Organization Information

From Books to Brilliance

Location: Albuquerque, NM - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KimCovill1
Project Leader:
Kim Covill
Founder & President
Albuquerque, NM United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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