For you and me, who love to read, it's hard to imagine an entire country where reading is not much valued and not regularly enjoyed. But this is the case in Guatemala. A colleague once heard it reported that of the Guatemalans who can read only 1% had read anything for pleasure that year. So imagine my delight at what happened the other day...
On October 1st Guatemala celebrated Día del Niño (Children's Day), and Daniel Guzmán our In-Country Coordinator and some of our teen reading promoters made their way to Concepcion's central plaza with the rest of the community to celebrate. And they each brought a book along...just in case.
After the singing of the national anthem, endless speeches and what not, the daycare teacher
unexpectedly invited Daniel to say some words. He seized the opportunity, the microphone and
Julio César (one of our teens) to translate into Kaqchikel. The whole community got to hear about
what it is we do from one of their own youth, and Julio had the presence of mind to introduce the
other teens and organize the children into two groups. Antonio and Luis (first-year reading promoters,
prepared with their books and activities) volunteered to lead the kids in story time in front of the
whole community. (See link to photos below.)
In this spontaneous moment a spark was lit. Parents who can't read, who can't afford to have books in
their homes, and who have never read a story to their own children, saw for the first time ever the joy
that reading brings their children and felt the satisfaction that comes with imagining a brighter future
for them. I have a feeling this is one of those defining moments we'll look back on one day when
Concepcion is a thriving, reading village.
If you've not yet made a donation this year, now is an opportune time to do so! On Tuesday,
October 12, GlobalGiving will begin matching donations made to Reading Village made only from
their website. (See link below.) Donations in the range of $10-$499 will be matched 30%, $500-$999 at 40% and
$1,000-$2,500 at 50%. There are limited matching funds available so the sooner after 12:01 am
Eastern on the 12th you make your donation the better. The matching opportunity runs through
October 21st, as long as funds last.
Thank you for all you do to bring the power of literacy to children,
Founder and Director