Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala

by From Books to Brilliance
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala
Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala

When the Austrian Guatemalan Institute founded Instituto Privado Mixto Kajib’ No’j almost twenty-five years ago, Mayan youth aspired to study for only two years.  In Momostenango today Kajib’ No’j offers ten years of classes, from pre-school through ninth grade.  However, textbooks and educational materials are expensive and scarce. 

 

Thank you, GlobalGiving supporters.  Students and faculty alike now enjoy Biblioteca Kajib’ No’j, a library that didn’t exist just over a year ago.  Beautiful bookshelves hold a variety of literature written by some of the world’s great authors, delighting middle school students.  Their younger siblings put puzzles together, play games and read charmingly-illustrated stories.  The availability of high-quality Guatemalan textbooks facilitates both teaching and learning. 

 

Much has changed in only fifteen months.  According to teachers, these resources are redefining the quality of education at Kajib’ No’j.  We recently received a long list of their comments.  “Writing is improving; imagination is developing; students are motivated to read a variety of books; they are evaluating culture; students’ vocabularies are growing; they’re becoming more pensive.”  Alicia, school secretary, thanks you all.  “The books and materials have been of much benefit to both students and teachers.”

 

Still, there is much to be done.  At From Books to Brilliance, we plan to continue our partnership with the Kajib’ No’j Private Institute for many years to come.     Visit us at www.frombookstobrilliance.org to learn about the ongoing progress that your support enables!  We thank you for your trust in us and this literacy mission.

Gracias!  from all of us at Kajib' No'j
Gracias! from all of us at Kajib' No'j
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At Instituto Privado Mixto Kajib’ No’j everybody helps.  When our small team arrived in July, third graders were sweeping the garden area with adult-sized brooms.  “They’re here,” they shouted in Spanish and K’iche’, and quickly returned those oversized brooms to their proper container, one made of recycled water bottles.  The kids’ enthusiasm is contagious.  Students, ages five to sixteen, know the opportunity that lies before them.  Most of their parents went to school for two years.  Kajib’ No’j provides eleven years of education, preschool through ninth grade.

Thanks to you, GlobalGiving supporters, and to our partners at the Austrian Guatemalan Institute, Kajib’ No’j now offers a school library as well.  Here elementary teachers plan lessons while referencing Guatemalan-published textbooks, and middle school students read some of the world’s great literature.  In fact, the school recently celebrated their own Día del Libro, or Day of the Book.  In the gymnasium parents browsed the literature that From Books to Brilliance provided.  Students then acted out scenes from their favorite books.

Just a few weeks ago, our team added one hundred children’s books, as well as dozens of games and puzzles to this new library.  Class by class, the youngest students at Kajib’ No’j filed in to see these exciting new resources.  Preschoolers couldn’t wait to put together the puzzle with the giraffes, monkeys and elephants.  First-graders loved the Mayan alphabet book…G for Güipil and Q for Quetzal.  In planning for the future, teachers requested class sets of textbooks for grades one through six.

Students are proud of their school that the Austrian Guatemalan Institute founded over twenty years ago. “The kids bring their own supplies,” says Principal Pedro Euligio. They carry backpacks with pencils, erasers, scissors and rulers.  They know that learning is a privilege that will lead to better opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities.  The faculty and students at Kajib’ No’j asked us to thank you all!

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Introducing Biblioteca Kajib' No'j
Introducing Biblioteca Kajib' No'j

Is the library open yet?  Three months ago Instituto Privado Mixto Kajib’ No’j received a beautifully constructed wood and glass bookshelf, a gift from our partners, the Amigos at the Austrian Guatemalan Institute.  This gorgeous piece now holds Guatemalan textbooks for all primary subjects and grades, as well as world literature for the school’s more advanced readers.  The classroom, where last year young musicians practiced the marimba, now serves as the library.  Tables and chairs moved in, and students began to occupy them.   Yes, Ladies and Gents, the Biblioteca Kajib’ No’j is now open and serving its community. 

Principal Pedro Euligio claims that this project strengthens the development of critical thinking skills as well as enriches the knowledge and vocabulary of the students.  Purportedly this nascent library, with only a few hundred books, is already influencing educational outcomes for Kajib’ No’j’s elementary and middle school students. The library is indispensable because it provides various sources of information and at the same time encourages our students to read, says one teacher.  To date the library in this school has had a great influence on learning, says another.

A library is much more than a venue.  It is a hope, a dream, a future.  It is power.  From Books to Brilliance and our generous supporters work hard to invest resources where libraries like this one will thrive.  It is the complementary hard work and persistence of the faculty that inspires students to read, study, and to take advantage of those resources.  Their enthusiasm inspires us as well.  During our annual trip to Guatemala in July, we expect to grow this tiny library, tailoring all books and educational materials to the specific needs and requests of staff and students at Kajib’ No’j.  Please watch for upcoming news and thank you so much for your support!

This is a great read!
This is a great read!
A place to read, study and be with friends
A place to read, study and be with friends
Storybooks for the little ones coming soon
Storybooks for the little ones coming soon
Library time is the best!
Library time is the best!
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Young students with plans to read great books!
Young students with plans to read great books!

Autumn in Guatemala brings many reasons to celebrate.  Mid-October marks the beginning of the dry season, the harvesting of coffee, and the end of the school year!  Teachers and students are now on vacation and Instituto Kajib’ No’j is closed.  Festivities continue with Christmas, followed by el Día de los Reyes.  On January 15 students return to their studies, having enjoyed a three-month break.

Nevertheless, Kajib’ No’j’s school library progresses as anticipated.  We thank our partners, Sigfried Ganster and Karin Sibora, who serve as volunteers for the "Amigos" program at the Austrian Guatemalan Institute (IAG), and now for our organization as well.  In November, due to your generous support, Karin and Sigfried purchased textbooks for grade levels one through six from Piedra Santa, a well-renowned Guatemalan publisher.   

These textbooks, specifically requested by the faculty and school board, will be available in the library for all to use.  Beginning this year teachers will align daily lessons to the goals and standards of Guatemala’s Ministry of Education using Guatemalan-approved resources.  This is a major step forward for faculty and students alike.

And just in time, the custom-made bookshelf arrived, compliments of our Amigos partners at IAG.  This cabinet, constructed of wood and glass by craftsmen in their own town of Momostenango, took the strength of five men to deliver.  We can rest assured that it will safely house these textbooks, as well as all of the world literature donated in July. 

Alicia Ambrocio, Kajib’ No’j’s school secretary, recently spoke to us by phone.  "The students are really enjoying the novels we received last summer.  They are books we didn’t know existed," she exclaimed.  Alicia asked that we wish you the best of holidays in this Christmas and Hanakkuh season.  ¡Gracias y Feliz Navidad!

Pages from Piedra Santa texts
Pages from Piedra Santa texts
Studying Guatemalan geography, Piedra Santa text
Studying Guatemalan geography, Piedra Santa text
Bookshelf, finished & delivered.  Gracias, Amigos!
Bookshelf, finished & delivered. Gracias, Amigos!
A Christmas & New Year greeting, from Kajib' No'j
A Christmas & New Year greeting, from Kajib' No'j

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World literature for Kajib' No'j
World literature for Kajib' No'j

     Visit Instituto Kajib’ No’j and undoubtedly a few smiling teens will offer you a guided tour of their school.  We recommend that you take it!  In the band room aspiring musicians practice their drums and wind instruments in preparation for the upcoming community parade.  Melodies of Mayan forefathers float down the hall, played on the school’s marimba.  In the garden across the street, students harvest organic fruits and vegetables.  The tour continues, boasting clever systems of irrigation, water filtration and composting. 

     Thank you, GlobalGiving supporters!  Soon a school library will be included in that tour.  In July From Books to Brilliance volunteers delivered the first cache of literature to Kajib’ No’j’s students.  These hard-working, industrious teens already embrace the wisdom of their families, teachers and fellow citizens.  Now, with access to the world’s great literature, students are acquiring wisdom from the past as well.  In the Popol Vuh they read the Mayan story of creation, told by their own legendary ancestors.   El Señor Presidente, by Guatemala’s Nobel Prize-winning Miguel Angel Asturias, describes life under a merciless dictator.  Their world expands further when reading Don Quijote de la Mancha, Alice in Wonderland and the Life of Pi, to name just a few.  According to principal Pedro Eligio Ajxup, “the books are motivating students to set and achieve goals and dreams for their lives.”  Kajib’ No’j’s school board and faculty sent a letter of thanks, listing a dozen ways in which the books increase student learning and critical thinking skills.

     The creation of Biblioteca Kajib’ No’j is just beginning and there is much to do, and From Books to Brilliance does not work alone.  We have strong partners, educators at the Austrian Guatemalan Institute (IAG) in Guatemala City.   In fact, IAG founded Kajib’ No’j over twenty years ago to provide education to Momostenango’s Mayan children.   Our partners are committed.  They will provide needed bookshelves and furniture, and prepare the space that will accommodate hundreds, hopefully thousands of books for all Kajib’ No’j’s students, ages five to sixteen.

     From Books to Brilliance remains committed as well.  Through the books and resources your generous support provides, these talented children are able to expand and pursue their educational goals.  Kajib’ No’j sends their heartfelt appreciation.  We'll keep you updated on all progress.

Discovery. Which one do we read first?
Discovery. Which one do we read first?
The Popol Vuh...a thumb's up from the faculty
The Popol Vuh...a thumb's up from the faculty
De nada...You are welcome!
De nada...You are welcome!
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From Books to Brilliance

Location: Albuquerque, NM - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KimCovill1
Project Leader:
Debbie Gonzales
Albuquerque, New Mexico United States

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