It’s nearly summer (dry season) in Guatemala, so school vacation is right around the corner. This year Pueblo a Pueblo is offering a library camp throughout November where children can go for education, fun, and a nutritious meal while their parents work.
Our six-week library camp will feature literacy activities based on a new theme each week, such as “The World, My Community, and I" and “Types of Animals.” Some activities will focus on imagination and fiction books and other activities will involve investigation and non-fiction books. Throughout, kids will read, listen to stories, and enjoy arts and crafts.
The Chukmuk children attendance to literacy activities at the Library is growing. Their interest has been awaken with the activities done in June.
In July our theme was ‘Nature’ and through activities linked to four children’s books we learned about how to best care for our mother earth. The first book was ‘El Arbol generoso’ (The generous tree) and on that library session each child thanked the flowers, the trees and our beautiful lake for everything they give us.
The second book was ‘Siembra una semilla’ (Plant a seed) and guess what! each child made their own seed pot with recycled paper and planted a sunflower seed! After watering the seeds and give them love for a whole week…. they came out!
With the third book (El loro tico tango) we experimented and learned how to write rhymes. It was the first try ever for most of the children so it was difficult!
And after reading 'El bosque tropical' (The tropical forest) we had to join letters and create animal names without orthographical mistakes...
Even though we are still on a temporary space we continue working to bring books to the life of children in Chukmuk and to awaken their interest for reading, widening their imagination and knowledge.
I’m so happy to see the progress we’ve made with the children from Chukmuk. Even though we are still in a small, temporary library location, we’re achieving our goals of getting the children involved with reading with activities such as “hora de cuento” (story hour). They love it! At every new session, the children are participating more and asking lots of questions about the stories we’re reading. Their interest in books is growing and growing, and I'm really excited that we will soon be moving the library to its permanent location.
When we first started story hour, the children rarely interacted with us at all. Because so few books are available to them, the children of Chuk Muk are simply not accustomed to having stories read to them, so they were a bit astonished. Now they’re becoming involved in the stories, and before the end of each session they always ask, “Cuándo será nuevamente la hora de cuento?” (When will we have story hour next?)
One big benefit of the story sessions and the children’s contact with books is how it is raising their self esteem. They are overcoming their inhibitions to formulate questions and speak up. This is especially important in a Mayan community that had been repressed for so long due to a harsh civil war that only ended in 1996.
Once I heard a quote that said, “Books are dangerous, they make you think!” I love being able to give the children of my community access to books and the incentive to think.
Pueblo a Pueblo sponsored a very interactive and busy library program in the interim community library location during the school vacation period in ChukMuk. The library team took time at the start of the new school year in January to plan for the return of classes for children in the community. We have opened the doors of the library once again and are now offering new reading activities and resources for our beneficiaries.
People in the local community continue to be pleased that the village of ChukMuk has gained this small library and that the children as well as adults will have access to resources to improve their studies and nurture an increased interest in books and reading for pleasure.
Pueblo a Pueblo continues our work to partner with local organizations to be able to equip the library adequately with popular literature and books and to provide regular weekly reading activities. As always, we continue to bring access to both universal and popular literature for both the community members and the ChukMuk schoolchildren, which this year boasts 414 students from kindergarten through the sixth grade.
We are collaborating with local officials and partners on permanent relocation of the library to the new ChukMuk Municipal School, which is due to be completed by late summer 2011.
Vacation library activities are up and running in Chukmuk! Schoolchildren from the community have been enjoying the new resources and programs being offered. As only 42% of rural indigenous children in Guatemala are likely to finish primary school, a library is an excellent means of promoting literacy and the value of education, not just among the children but the entire community as well (Center for Economic and Social Rights, 2009). The children in Chukmuk have been busy with basic English classes, story hours, and various games and crafts that reflect new words or themes. Their energy and enthusiasm reflects a desire to learn, and the library provides the perfect resource to combat illiteracy and enhance creativity. People in communities like Chukmuk have very limited access to books and educational materials outside the classroom, thus have no means to learn independently and practice the skills they acquire in school. The library project seeks to change this with the help of your generosity. Your donation will go towards the purchase of books and supplies for the new community library.
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