Community Leaders at the Opening Ceremony
For the last 10 years, we’ve focused our work in rural, indigenous Maya communities in Guatemala where only 50% of the adult population is literate, only 25% of children reach the sixth grade and only 10% of youth go to high school. Working in partnership with these communities, we have leveraged youth development, literacy, and education as mechanisms to help them break free from a cycle of generational poverty.
Since we began our work, we have invested time in cultivating respectful relationships between our staff and local leaders, parents and teachers so that we can co-create a better future. Because our staff are locals living in or around the villages where we work, they know the customs, values, traditions and native languages of our partner communities. This core knowledge allows our Community Facilitators to be seen not as imposing outsiders, but as natural liaisons between Reading Village and the communities, youth leaders and families who have committed themselves to breaking the cycle of poverty. The trust that has been established allows us to build the solidarity and cooperation needed for youth to discover their full potential and, ultimately, to empower them to become agents of change.
Last April, when we were in Chuiquel for our first Learning Journey there our strong community partnership was clearer than ever when a handful of local leaders joined the festivities on opening day. We usually expect to have one community leader participate in such an activity, but due to our growing relationship and the excitement about the work that is going on, they all showed up. And, as you can see in the photo above, they jumped right in to participate in the ice breakers that the youth leaders had prepared for the group!
Deep and thoughtful community partnerships are integral building blocks as we work to build human capital in rural Guatemala. The network of relationships that we have fostered over the past decade - relationships that start in Guatemala and extend all the way to you - provides a foundation for our impact today and our growth tomorrow.
Thank you for your partnership in this important work!