Students enjoying booksLakeAtitlanLibraries (LAL) News– February, 2013

449 Overlook Pass, Hudson, WI 54016

2012 was a year with many new options for Lake Atitlan Libraries with our grant from the Daniele A. Derossi Foundation.  In considering those options, we delayed this newsletter until we had a clear direction for 2013.  Meanwhile the wonderful work of our collaborators in Guatemala continued.  Let me summarize (for more details, see the web site above under the tab-Newsletters).

In 2012, Associacion Pro Biblioteca, APB,doubled their book distribution process due to the Derossi Foundation grant and your donations.  One group of schools received books in February, another in October.  As a result a total of 25 schools received 4,767 books in about 10 different subjects for 3,730 students.  I was with Richard Adams one morning last February to help him sort and package the books for schools to pick up. I got to see these impressive books all the way from Math to Plastic Arts. We also visited Nuhuala one of the larger Básicos to receive books.  We talked to the Director and visited one of the classrooms with 45 students!!  Richard asked them a question, and they responded that their favorite subject was math!

students studying in a LAL librarySan Jose el Tesoro in Yalpemechis a small village in Alta Verapaz. I visited in March last year. I saw how the library is used by the children, teens and young adults, teachers, and parents in the town.  With the funds provided from LAL, Sister Joannes   purchased 4 new computers and related technology to enhance the learning opportunities for students in this very isolated village (at least 8 hours from Guatemala City). 

Child Aid-In late October, the communities of Chocol and Nakajkim –in the Department of Sololá – completed their first year of Child Aid’s Reading for Life literacy program.  Between these two communities, 168 primary school children and 11 teachers were served.  These remote village schools receive little attention and few resources from the Ministry of Education.  “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.”  The Child Aid, Reading for Life program, fosters inspiration and engagement among the children, and empowers teachers to become successful.  The program will continue for two more years in these villages. Books were given to the teachers for the classroom use. 

Opening of library in concepcionReadingVillage-Never underestimate what young leaders in Concepción are capable of dreaming and doing! I meet with them in February last year and listened to their business plan for opening a community library.  On July 15, they initiated a conversation with their city council about a library for their town. The result of this courageous act is that the council turned over a set of keys to an unused building. That building is now known throughout the village as the Flourishing Knowledge Library in Kaqchikel. It’s a place where anyone can go to read or borrow a book. Ann Cameron attended the Grand Opening in January 2103vrepresenting LAL and encouraged them to continue. 

Municipality in Concepcion

Going Forward in 2013 - By the decision of the Board of LAL with approval by the Derossi Foundation, funding for APB’s work in providing textbooks for Basico schools will be phased out due to difficulties with schools’ storage options and access to the books provided.  With the grant funds from Derossi, LAL has award additional funds to Child Aid to bring the Reading for Life program to 2 more villages in the Sololá area and to Reading Village to give youth in other villages they serve the opportunity to start new libraries. 

For 2013, LAL will target our donations to Reading Village, unless you specify another of our collaborators.  Please help us in this important work to bring tools for literacy to Guatemala. Please mail your tax deductible donations to:

Lake Atitlán Libraries, 449 Overlook Pass, Hudson, WI 54016. (more information here).

The Lake Atitlán Libraries Board thanks you for your support!

Rory Cameron, President, Teresa Cameron, Treasurer, Louise Eidsmoe, Secretary (Newsletter Editor). Board Members:  Howard Cameron, Charlotte Cameron, Marybeth Lorbiecki (Mataya), and Mary Hambidge.  Contact us here.

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