Lake Atitlán Libraries News - January, 2010

Thanks for your support in 2008-2009. We are happy to report on the results that our Guatemalan partners, the Asociacion Biblioteca Panajachelense Y Regional (ABP) achieved with your donations and two grants: One from Christ and St. Stephens' Church in New York City and the other from the Daniele Agostino Derossi Foundation, which funds projects to improve the lives of indigenous people in Guatemala. 

Subscribe to the LAL newsletterIn August we sent $15,000 to the Guatemalan committee and they were able to stretch that money to buy books for 16 Básicos (middle schools) in the very isolated areas of the Sololá region that had no books. They purchased 3 copies of the text books for each of their courses. The schools are developing places to keep the books so that students can share them when they do their homework. Before getting the books, many students traveled for an hour or more to other regional libraries to find the resources they needed to be successful in school. Using books as part of the school day is a big leap for these small indigenous schools. It helps increase success and encourage these middle school students continue their education beyond elementary school.

Concepcion, SololaLet me tell you more about Concepción, the Kaqchikel village and school I visited in 2009. I was accompanied on the trip by Linda Smith from Reading Village that has an intensive project to promote literacy in the village. According to her there are about 5,000 people with 2,500 children. Of those there are about 700 children in the primary school (1-6 grades) which is the "free" public education in Guatemala. It starts with about 189 in the 1st grade, but by the 6th grade there are only 35 students still attending school. With the new Básico, there are 20 students in their second year of Basico and 35 in their 1st year. Now in 2010 they will have all 3 Basico grades. In the Basico there are still more boys than girls, but they are catching up: 20 girls and 33 boys. Many of the new teachers in the Basico School are indigenous women and men who can model the importance of education. When students complete their Basico education they will be able to travel to Sololá for secondary education. Reading Village is working to provide scholarships for that opportunity. There are a lot of children in Concepción and the other similar Guatemalan villages in the area needing more education. 

With your help over these last few years, ABP has provided a few books for most of the Básico schools in the Sololá region. They will be discussing next steps to improve education for indigenous students such as going back to provide more books to the existing schools or expanding to other schools beyond Sololá. Richard Adams continues to be the person who does the work for the committee, but this year they have a new president, Cesar Churunel, a local business man. They are all volunteers as are we. All your donations go directly to purchase textbooks. 

Please mail your tax deductible donations to:

Lake Atitlan Libraries
449 Overlook Pass
Hudson, WI 54016

If you send your email address to me, Louise, I will send you updates from my trip in 2010. You can donate online through our website. 

Thank you again for your support from the LAL Board! 

Rory Cameron, President of the LAL Board: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Teresa Cameron, Treasurer LAL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Louise Eidsmoe, Secretary LAL and Newsletter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Howard Cameron, LAL Board member: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlotte Cameron, LAL Board member: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mary Hambidge and Jeri Brost, LAL Board member

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