We believe community-created libraries can fundamentally transform learning environments at schools. Books broaden horizons, open minds and inspire creativity. This Christmas, we’re reaching out to everyone in the educate. community to ask for your support in helping us start libraries at two rural primary schools in Honduras that will do just that.
We recently launched an Amazon Wishlist where anyone from anywhere in the world can choose and buy a specific book for this project. All of the books on this list are in Spanish and each and every one of them will be helping to fill the shelves of libraries-to-be in public primary schools in one of Central America’s poorest and most violent countries. The list was co-created with groups of Honduran educators.
There are 2 schools to which these books will be going: The Las Lagunas school in Arada, Santa Barbara and the Francisco Morazan school in Catacamas, Olancho.
The Las Lagunas School in Santa Barbara
This is the Las Lagunas primary school, where 33 Kindergarten and primary-aged students (grades 1-6) come every day to be taught by one superwoman of a teacher: Lorena Jimenez. Located in the rural village of Las Lagunas, most of the children’s families work in coffee production and during their weekends and holidays (and sometimes during harvest season, which falls during school time) the children join their families in the fields. The school building has two rooms, but as there is only one teacher, they are usually all in one room. The library space will therefore be set up in the other room, which is currently empty.
Like most rural primary schools in Honduras, the Las Lagunas school suffers from a severe lack of resources. While there are some outdated textbooks, the children do not have any other reading materials. Lorena plans for the library to be an active learning space for her students where they can read, learn and grow as students and individuals.
The Francisco Morazan school in Catacamas, Olancho
The Francisco Morazan school is also a one-teacher school, located in the small community of La Florida which has just 134 inhabitants, most of whom work in subsistence agriculture. The village can be found just north of the city of Catacamas, Olancho. Nerry Molina, who teaches th e24 students from 1st through 6th grade, says he does everything he can to promote reading. “I believe that students’ personalities are formed through reading, motivating them to participate responsibly in the community.”
As there is no secondary school in the village, Nerry also informally teaches students in grades 7-9 two days a week.
But resources are limited. As a public school, they rely on state funding which is often non-existent. Nerry purchases paper and does photocopies in Catacamas out of his own pocket. But with the implementation of this library, Nerry already has big plans for his students! One hour of class each day will be dedicated to reading in the classroom, and on Thursdays at 3pm, students will meet in groups throughout the village to read. Because of how rural La Florida is, students will meet in 5 separate geographic areas throughout the community, with students of varying reading levels in each group, and there they will have reading circles and will be able to read with their parents as well. Some of the 7-9th grade students will lead these groups.
Starting a library is a long process. Here’s a quick outline of what’s happened so far and what will be happening in the coming months:
- Both schools approached us independently for support with these projects, and we have worked with both communities to come up with an individualized implementation plan.
- Lorena and Nery, as well as other Honduran and international teachers, worked with us to come up with a preliminary list of books, which you can see in our Amazon Wishlist.
- Now, both schools are working with their local communities to raise a small portion of funds to cover the costs of shelves and transportation. We do this so that the community feels a sense of ownership and responsibility over their library from the very beginning.
- Each school is also working to create a plan for their library: how do they want the space to look? How exactly will the library be used ona day-to-day basis? Will it be open to anyone (e.g. students’ families and other members of the community) or only to students?
- In july 2019, each school will help to set up their library space and will also organize a library inauguration party for the community. educate. representatives will organize the transportation of all books and other materials to each school and will also be a part of this process.
We’re working to collect books that will inspire, empower and engage children at these schools.
“I want to introduce them to the world of literature, science, art and technology through reading,” says Lorena Jimenez, the teacher from Las Lagunas. “The idea of the library is that these books are not only about fantastical characters, but also books that educate in values, general culture, gender equality, environmental education, nutrition, emotional education, entrepreneurship, and other things.”
As well as providing books on a variety of topics, we have been working to put together a list of books that includes classic Latin American stories with characters that the children at these schools will be able to relate to: children with brown and black skin, families who work in agriculture and shoemaking, and stories from Central American folklore.
Titles on the list include Spanish versions of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Too Many Tamales and many, many more!
We need your help!
To make these projects happen, we need your support in filling these schools with beautiful children’s books.
It’s simple: you pick a book from the list that you would like to purchase for the library, and it gets sent straight to us (be sure to select the Gift Registry Address in Amsterdam). That book will become part of a room full of stories that children at the Las Lagunas and Francisco Morazán schools will be able to enjoy for years to come.
Click here to buy a book for the library: http://www.amazon.es/registry/wishlist/1699CQUI855TW/ref=cm_sw_r_tw