2012 Year End Report for the Daniele Agostino Derossi Foundation

Regarding Child Aid’s Literacy Program in the Villages of Chocol and Nakajkim, Guatemala

Luis Miguel Can, teacherIn late October, the communities of Chocol and Nakajkim – located in the Department of Solola – completed their first year of Child Aid’s Reading for Life literacy program. Funding for the Chocol School was provided by the Derossi Foundation. Child Aid matched the Foundation’s funding to support our work in the Nakajkim School. Between these two communities, we provided first-time services to 168 children and 11 teachers.  These remote village schools receive little attention and few resources from the Ministry of Education and no assistance from other NGOs.  

Both schools affected by the grant are tiny and serve indigenous K’iché children, kids who face disproportionately high dropout rates and a high risk of growing up illiterate. All come from extremely poor families. Teachers in these schools have limited access to training and no way to build on the rudimentary skills they learned in vocational school as teenagers. Until now, books in both places were extremely scarce.

Thanks to the Derossi grant, $15,000 for year one, we were able to provide ongoing training for each of these village teachers, helping them develop easy-to-implement teaching techniques that encourage reading, critical thinking and effective learning habits among their young students. We delivered high-quality Spanish language children’s books to both schools and expanded our Books to Villages program to bring books, on a rotating basis, to each of the classrooms throughout the year. Most importantly, we helped the teachers create reading programs that actively engage students in the reading materials we are providing.

Teachers in both schools regularly express to us that the program is going well. “The kids never used to want to read,” a teacher named Olga Maribel Chavez told us. “Now, even in this tiny school, the kids insist that I read to them. It never was like this.”

Another teacher, a young man named Luis Miguel Can said: “I use Child Aid’s techniques all the time. It has been a wonderful experience, and the kids are really picking up reading. They’re getting it.”

Through classroom observations and interviews, our staff has determined that children in Nakajkim and Chocol are now reading with much greater regularity than children in neighboring schools. Most importantly, as Ms. Chavez described, the children are developing the desire to read. By helping Child Aid foster inspiration and engagement among the children, and empowering teachers to become successful at what they do, the Derossi Foundation is helping create a culture of reading in two villages where illiteracy and a lack of interest in books was the norm.

On behalf of the children and teachers we serve in Chocol and Nakajkim, thank you for making Reading for Life a reality. 

Website: ChildAid.com

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