Reading Village

by Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village
Reading Village

We are honored to be featured this month on the World Changers Network as an organization making a positive difference in the world. We hope you'll take two minutes to watch this Weekly Report and see some of the faces of the teens and children you've impacted through the years. Thank you for making our work possible and for helping to break the cycle of generational poverty in rural Guatemala!

How you can stay involved:

  • Mark your calendar for July 12th to participate in our fundraising campaign as part of the GlobalGiving Match Day. On July 12th, all donations up to $1,000 per donor will be matched 50% while funds last. What a great opportunity to multiply your impact in Guatemala even more!
  • Follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

We are so grateful for all that we've accomplished together in our first 10 years and we look forward to all to come in the next 10!

Wishing you a lovely Memorial Day weekend,

The Reading Village Team

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Apart from Haiti, Guatemala has the worst literacy rate in the Western Hemisphere. Social and cultural prejudices show up plainly in national literacy statistics. While a wealthy male of European descent is certain to be literate, an impoverished Mayan girl has only a 30% chance of being able to read and write. Guatemala’s low levels of literacy are also the product of failing education systems and limited resources for learning. The World Bank reports that Guatemala spends just 3% of GDP on education, and because public education is not free, attendance figures are dismal with 75% of children dropping out before the 6th grade and only 10% reaching high school. Outlays for enrollment fees, uniforms, transportation and school supplies for just one child can cost half of a family’s annual income.

Within the greater fabric of Guatemala, Reading Village has focused its work on the most marginalized: rural and indigenous populations. At present, we operate within the Department of Sololá in five different partner communities. This province ranks among the nation’s lowest rates of school enrollment and advancement to the next grade. The consequences of this low educational achievement ripple out across society: 20% of the Sololá population suffers from chronic malnutrition, 43% of girls are physically stunted, 57% of the population lives in extreme poverty, and the majority of people have just one USD to spend on food every day.

Our programs develop local capacity by focusing on youth development and leadership to improve literacy, critical and creative thinking skills, higher levels of education, higher salaries upon graduating, opportunities for university studies and all the social, political and economic benefits associated with these achievements.

Our core program is called Leaders and Readers. Over the last year we have expanded our reach to 5 communities and now have 100 teens providing reading services to over 4500 elementary school children on a daily basis. 

The Leaders and Readers program activities include providing high school scholarships for teens, 15 leadership development and training workshops during the course of the year, and personal mentoring. We also hold an annual retreat that brings together the teens from all five communities, we organize field trips that expose the teens to other teen leaders and other community development projects and we provide guidance from our staff as the teens undertake their own community development projects.

The teens deliver at least three hours of reading promotion activities each week with younger children in their communities as part of the program. Some teens provide extra reading activities to interested neighbors of all ages at different times in the week. They also host small groups of Reading Village supporters once a year during our annual Learning Journey which gives our supporters the unique opportunity to see the direct impact of their partnership by visiting the teens in their villages and getting to know them, their experiences as Reading Village youth leaders and their way of life. This unique cultural exchange helps the teens to feel seen and appreciated for their work and culture as people come from thousands of miles away just to be with them. In addition, on average our teens family incomes increase by over 98% after participating in our program. We are truly eradicating poverty 1 teen and family at a time. We invite you to join us on this critical mission.

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Thank You Reading Village!
Thank You Reading Village!

This year, as we celebrate 10 years of work and the 10 building blocks of human capital that make our impact in rural Guatemala possible, it is with sincere gratitude that we acknowledge the powerful role that our generous network of partners have played all along the way. To create lasting, positive change in the world we have needed the commitment not only of the people on the ground where the change is happening, but also of people from all corners of the globe who believe in that change and want to be a part of it. 

In this Month of Gratitude, we give thanks to the 50 individuals who supported our work when we first started throwing “reading fiestas” in 2007 and to the 10 families who have donated every single year over the last decade. We are indebted to the 1000+ individuals and to the 20 foundations who have partnered with us throughout our journey. We are grateful to the numerous schools whose students have empowered indigenous youth and children in Guatemala with life-changing education and literacy. To the 60 world travelers who have joined us on a Learning Journey to witness the work firsthand, the 18 board members we’ve had over the years and countless others who have volunteered their time and expertise to help us train our staff, measure our impact, refine our program curriculum, host fundraisers, and so much more … to ALL of you, thank you!

Each of you has been integral to our ability to build human capital in a meaningful and sustainable manner. The program materials, literacy promotion activities, youth leadership development, scholarships, alumni support, strong community partnerships, highly skilled staff, research-based program curriculum and evaluation of impact all depend on a strong network of partners who want to help make all of those other building blocks possible. For the last 10 years, individuals like you with generous hearts, minds and spirits who want to be a part of something bigger than yourselves have empowered teens to eradicate illiteracy and lead their communities out of poverty. And for that, we are forever grateful!

It takes a village to build Reading Village, and we are so grateful you have chosen to be a part of ours.

Sending heartfelt wishes for the loveliest of holiday seasons,
The Reading Village Team

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Informed by evidence and refined through ten years of experience, we work in rural, indigenous communities in Guatemala to leverage youth development, literacy and education to interrupt the cycle of generational poverty in rural Guatemala. Our interdisciplinary Leaders and Readers Program empowers teens to be a generation of leaders creating a generation of readers behind them, and in doing so supports communities to thrive under their own resources and creativity. 
 
We value the trust that our partner communities place in us and are committed to refining the very best research-based program curriculum. Building a world-class experience for youth leadership development requires both the rigor to subject our assumptions to leading-edge research, as well as, the courage to forge new ground and challenge social norms in Guatemala that limit what Mayan teens (particularly girls) can become. And, it is this belief which drives us as we move into the future and work to both deepen and broaden our impact. 
 
Some of the principles that guide us in how we work with teens include:

  • We begin with their reality.
  • We focus on strengths.
  • We create an affirming environment.
  • We make the act of community service transformational.
  • We facilitate experiential learning.
  • We ask questions more than we provide answers.
  • We entrust young people with power.

By focusing energy and resources on our program curriculum with these guiding principles in mind, we remain committed to the youth and communities we serve as we work to build human capital in Guatemala. As we celebrate 10 years of impact, we celebrate the 108 youth leaders who have participated in this program: attending high school, developing their leadership skills and collectively reading to more than 10,000 young children and countless community members in their mission to eradicate illiteracy and move their communities out of poverty. 

Thank you for your partnership in this important work,
The Reading Village Team

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In order to successfully build human capital in Guatemala, we must have the right people on our team. In the past ten years, our staff on the ground has grown from 1 to 5 and our reach has grown from 6 teens to 67 reading to 3,350 children in 2016.  

The Guatemalan Team is trained to follow the principles of Popular Education in their leadership development workshops and mentoring. Quite different from the national teaching methods of rote memorization and dictation, Popular Education is a practice of freedom. Students and teacher are co-learners, reflecting on issues in their community and taking action to change them. It’s all about self empowerment.

Meet our Guatemalan Team:

  • Juan (National Director) brings decades of experience collaborating with the Guatemalan government and local communities. During those years, he realized how critical it is to empower young generations with literacy and education so they can more successfully govern their communities in the future.
  • Brenda (Community Facilitator) lives in Chaquijya, one of our partner communities. Her intimate local knowledge and deep network enables her to collaborate with local leaders while building genuine relationships with the youth she serves. 
  • Ismael (Community Facilitator) grew up in the Solola region during the civil war. With deep roots in the area where we work, he brings a rich understanding of indigenous communities, and their cultural, economic and social dynamics. 
  • Mayra (Community Facilitator) came to Reading Village with experience in Popular Education having previously worked on a community education project where she honed her skills working with youth.
  • Rosalina (Community Facilitator) is a linguist who speaks Spanish, Quiche and English, and brings diverse international experience which allows her to provide different perspectives to the youth and local leaders with whom she interacts.

Together, this is the team that is transforming lives on the ground in Guatemala. Each of our staff members believes that literacy, education, and leadership are integral to empowering marginalized populations to express themselves critically, creatively and effectively. They are passionate supporters of these populations and strong partners for them as they work to find their voices. For all of these reasons and more, our highly skilled staff is a critical building block of human capital. 

Thank you for your partnership in this important work,
The Reading Village Team


P.S. We want to make sure you can put the faces to the names. In the photo above you see Mayra, Ismael, Marcella (Colorado based Development Manager), Rosalina, Juan and Brenda.

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Organization Information

Reading Village

Location: Lafayette, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Reading Village
Reading Village
Marcella Varley
Project Leader:
Marcella Varley
Development Manager
Lafayette, CO United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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