Apply to Join

Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala

by Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Help Build School Libraries in Rural Guatemala
Julio Serrano Echeverria leads a workshop
Julio Serrano Echeverria leads a workshop

At Pueblo a Pueblo, we believe in the power of stories, our libraries hum with excitement. We believe that imagined adventures, meeting “new” characters and learning how to face adversity in stories are fundamental skills children need for their social and psychological development.

The children at our beneficiary schools face many obstacles, including malnutrition, poverty and generational illiteracy. Families trying to support their children through school have little time to foster the imagination and creativity of their children. One of the biggest goals when working towards literacy, and one we try to foster with our literacy programs, is to enable comprehension and critical thinking skills necessary to become  empowered members of society.

Guatemalan writer Julio Serrano Echeverría also believes in the power of stories. He translates ancient Maya oral stories he collects from elders throughout Guatemala. He claims to be the author, but not the writer” because no one is the owner of oral stories.

Julio caught our attention through his stories. When choosing books for our libraries, we often search for works that our young readers will be able to identify with. His collection of Maya folktales are stories that children from our beneficiary schools enjoy because they can relate to them. Many of the stories  take place in indigenous communities like their own and are similar to the stories their grandparents have told them.Julio’s books are very popular in our lending libraries.  

Pueblo a Pueblo and Julio teamed up to show the students at the Nueva Providencia Primary beneficiary school, in San Lucas Toliman, how they also have the power to be storytellers and to teach them how to translate their unique experiences into creative narratives.

“It’s important to empower kids, to show them they can be in control of their own stories and their own lives, to use their creativity to understand the world around them and to create their dreams for the future,” explained Juan. This is especially important for kids in underserved populations, which the world has told do not have a significant role in the larger social narrative,” he added.

About 30 students huddled under a giant tree in front of the 4 room school building.

“What can you tell me about this tree?” Julio asked the eager but shy students.

The giggling children responded:

“It’s really old.”

“It has spiders on it.”

“It used to have a branch but too many kids swung on it and it broke off.”

“It used to be where kids would go to school before the school was built.”

“So the tree is a big part of your lives. Does the tree have a name?,” asked Julio, hoping to develop a character for their collective story. After careful deliberation, the children decided to name the ancient tree “Mrs. Juana.”

By the end of the activity, the children had added details to their beloved new character who now permanently resides outside their classroom. Together they created a story explaining how “Mrs. Juana” - settled her roots in this very spot. One by one they said goodbye to “Mrs. Juana,” by patting her trunk as they headed back to their classrooms.  

It only took an hour for these students to reconnect with the ancient art of storytelling and  use their imaginations to create a new world.  We hope they continue to nurture their imaginations through storytelling as part of their classroom activities. Your GlobalGiving support creates oportunities to nurture the imagination of our students through workshops and access to stories. Thank You! 

Fourth grader, Jose, participating in the workshop
Fourth grader, Jose, participating in the workshop
Students participating under "Mrs. Juana"
Students participating under "Mrs. Juana"
Students talking to Juan Serrano Echeverria
Students talking to Juan Serrano Echeverria
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Reading a story for World Book Day
Reading a story for World Book Day

In April, our beneficiary schools celebrated World Book Day. Observed around the globe every year on April 23rd, students and teachers at La Cumbre Primary School gathered for an afternoon filled with skits, games, puppets, and books. “A book is more valuable than new toys, shoes, or clothes. A book can expand your imagination and open up opportunities,” said Ricardo Sitan, La Cumbre’s School Principal, as he introduced activities for the day.

"We're grateful for the support of Pueblo a Pueblo, which makes it possible for us to have this great library, where students can read and take books home. Students are inspired by the stories they read," Sitan adds. For students Helena, Rosa, and Juan, they were each awarded a prize at the start of La Cumbre’s World Book Day assembly for borrowing the most books during the school year.

After, three students ran on stage to set up a puppet show. The 141 students in the audience focused their eyes on the sock puppets, watching the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears unfold. “Ahhh, this porridge is just right," exclaimed Goldilocks, and students giggled as Goldilocks moved on to try out three different chairs.

At the end of the assembly, students split into groups to travel to four different game stations. Each station focused on a different aspect of literacy. At Ms. Lea Tzina’s station, students were given the phrase: “The witch flies at night,” and had to make up the rest of the story from there. With Mr. Francisco Cutzal’s station, a 4-foot long poster covered the wall with the question “Why are books important in your life?” and students grabbed markers to write, draw, and illustrate their answers.

World Book Day marks the gains that La Cumbre Primary School has made in encouraging reading in their community. On their pre- and post-literacy diagnostic tests, students increased their scores by 17%. And now more students are borrowing books from the library to bring home-- meaning that the learning continues outside school walls. We are excited to see La Cumbre Primary School, their library, and students grow even more!

"Goldiocks and the Three Bears" puppet show
"Goldiocks and the Three Bears" puppet show
One of the four game stations
One of the four game stations
La Cumbre students at the World Book Day assembly
La Cumbre students at the World Book Day assembly
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Book donations for the library
Book donations for the library

With the start of the school year in Guatemala, the libraries are bustling once again with students. Our Pathways to Literacy (PTL) team has been busy working with librarians at La Cumbre and Nueva Providencia Elementary Schools.

At both schools, our PTL team is developing a formal inventory system. “We’re trying to put call numbers, or access codes, on each book. This way we can keep track of the books and make sure that the library stays organized.” The team is also training the librarians how to classify books during inventory. “All of these steps make it easier and simpler for students to check out books--and ultimately to encourage reading,” explains Lidia Quieju, our Pathways to Literacy Project Coordinator.

Before Pueblo a Pueblo started the Pathways to Literacy Project in La Cumbre and Nueva Providencia, there was no organized system for students and teachers to check out and borrow books. At most, a student could check out a book once a week. “Now that we’re implementing cataloging methods, using call numbers, and training the librarians, students and teachers have greater access to books. They can borrow books at anytime during the week,” Lidia adds.

Along with library organization, the PTL team is expanding the book collection at Nueva Providencia Elementary School. The library at Nueva Providencia opened in July, and they started off with very few books. However, through book donations that Pueblo a Pueblo has coordinated, we are adding to their collection. From historical accounts of Che Guevara to Chocolate y Merengue, students will discover a new world of stories.

Students who checked out books at La Cumbre
Students who checked out books at La Cumbre
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Students having fun at La Cumbre Primary School!
Students having fun at La Cumbre Primary School!

The school year may be over, but that doesn’t mean the learning stops in our communities in rural Guatemala! In November, we sponsored Vacation in the Libraries, a two-week camp of literacy activities, at La Cumbre, Chacaya, and Nueva Providencia Primary Schools.

During these two weeks, 132 children participated in a wide array of literacy activities, ranging from storytelling exercises to games. Vacation in the Libraries typically focuses on alternative literacy methods, using theater, clowns, and play to engage students. This year’s camp included body awareness activities to help students develop physical literacy, such as large and fine motor skills.

According to Lidia Quieju, the Pathways to Literacy Project Coordinator, Vacation in the Libraries is important because it “inspires excitement towards reading and literacy. Students learn that literature is fun.” Children told us “how excited they were to return to school and use the library!”

Encouraging a generation of new readers is possible only with the support of donors like you. As we near the end of the year, Pueblo a Pueblo is counting on you to help us reach our year-end fundraising goal of $60,000. With every dollar, we can continue this cycle of change for communities in rural Guatemala. Together we can build more libraries, bring more dynamic literacy activities to schools, and empower more communities.

Donate today to make a difference in the lives of students in rural Guatemala!

Vacation in the Libraries at Nueva Providencia
Vacation in the Libraries at Nueva Providencia
Alejandro the clown leading literacy activities!
Alejandro the clown leading literacy activities!
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Students in the Nueva Providencia library
Students in the Nueva Providencia library

This summer our Pathways to Literacy team has been working hard to complete the construction of a library at Nueva Providencia Elementary School. The team has been making regular visits to the school to address the library’s needs, including fixing the leaky roof, delivering books and securing furniture for the students. After months of preparation, the library was finally opened to students and teachers on August 8!

Alongside the library’s construction needs, Pueblo a Pueblo has been training a librarian to run the operations of the Nueva Providencia library, and a team of eight student Literacy Ambassadors has been formed to help manage the library.  They will help keep the books organized and remind their peers to follow library rules.

The Nueva Providencia library support group has also been formed, made up of four mothers from the community, the school director and one teacher. Throughout the year, the group will receive trainings from Pueblo a Pueblo on library upkeep, cataloging methods, and development of dynamic literacy activities for the students. The school is on its way to having a well-run, self-sustaining library.

Although more infrastructure changes are still needed, students now have a place to read and borrow books. Esther Domínguez, Pueblo a Pueblo’s Education Program Assistant, noted that, “You can see the excitement on the kids’ faces. Before there was no library at all at Nueva Providencia School, but now they finally have a supply of books and a cozy corner to read them!”

Students working in the new library
Students working in the new library
Our Pueblo a Pueblo staff with students
Our Pueblo a Pueblo staff with students
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Pueblo_a_Pueblo
Project Leader:
Andrew Wilson
Executive Director
Neenah, WI United States
$37,413 raised of $50,000 goal
 
855 donations
$12,587 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.