Women participates in Book process
For over 20 years, Riecken Community Libraries - each a partnership of the Riecken Foundation, local communities and their local governments - have offered access to information, leadership development and a safe place to learn and grow in some of the most underserved communities of Guatemala and Honduras.
• Create lifelong readers
• Bridge the digital divide in Central America
• Support someone’s first hands-on computer experience
• Provide dynamic library programming and community outreach
February 21st is International Mother Language Day (IMLD), a worldwide annual observance held to promote peace through awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was formally recognized by the UN General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages. For Riecken Community Libraries, our active promotion of literature and books in native languages alongside Spanish, is a perfect example of the spirit of International Mother Language Day, and tightly aligns our work with the UN Sustainable Development Goal of preserving cultural identity agreed upon in September 2015.
The creation of such books has been an ongoing project bringing people of all ages to collaborate in writing, illustrating and producing high quality books about their own communities for their local libraries. Participating communities have included Chiché, El Quiché; Copan Ruinas, Copan; Xolsacmaljá, Totonicapán; San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, San Carlos Sija, Huitán and Cabricán in Quetzaltenango. Supported by funding partnerships for a creative and educational process coordinated by The Riecken Foundation, the project brings publishers, local library directors, writers and artists, plus a host of volunteers to compile and publish oral histories and folktales narrated by Mayan elders in their communities. One book, The Tzijolaj: Mayan Kiche Oral Tradition (oral maya kiché, Ri Tzijol Aj), was compiled with the Mayan people of Chiché (El Quiché) and produced as an audio book!
The project, with a very high women participation, aims to conserve traditional culture, inspire creativity, and value diversity. Bilingual literature in Spanish and Mayan languages is rare in Guatemala and the region, and the books empower local people to express their traditions and values in word and art through high quality materials.