After a year of lockdown, our community library projects have been re-ignited.
Last week, three communities in the municipality of Trinidad, Honduras recommenced their community meetings, working towards three new school-based community libraries that will open this year. Project Coordinator Walter Dubon attended the community meetings, guiding communities in the first steps of the process: creating a local project committee made up of teachers, parents and students, and beginning the planning and community fundraising process.
Located in a rural shoemaking community in the municipality of Trinidad, the El Tigre primary school has 60 students and two teachers, one for grades 1-3 and another for grades 4-6, taught in two separate classrooms. There is also a small standalone Kindergarten room, which the community came together to create a few years ago.
Like most public schools, especially those in rural areas, El Tigre lacks educational resources beyond outdated government-issued textbooks, which are shared amongst students. Creative resources such as books are non-existent, making teachers’ jobs more difficult and student engagement lower.
However, the passion of El Tigre’s educators and the enthusiasm of the student and parent community to lead this project to fruition – despite it having been on hold for a year due to the pandemic – shows the great value that the community places on education.
“At the community meeting it was clear that the mothers and fathers are very interested in developing projects at the school to improve their children’s learning,” says Walter. “They are very motivated by the library project, since it will provide so much knowledge and opportunity to the students and the community.”
The El Tigre school has an old storage room, and it is here that the library will be created.
La Alegria and Los Trojes
Behind El Tigre are forested and coffee-growing mountains. To get to the villages of Los Trojes and La Alegria, you have to follow a poorly maintained dirt road in a mototaxi. You get to Los Trojes first, a small community where a one-roomed school is led by Profe Wilmer, who teaches 17 students from 1st through 6th grade.
La Alegria is even further up the mountain. Here, Profe Olga also teaches grades 1-6 simultaneously, just like Wilmer does in Los Trojes, but with 30 students. She is an incredibly inspiring educator, who travels up the mountain to La Alegria every day to reach her students. “The parents in La Alegria are very excited about the library project,” says Walter. “They never imagined that they would have the opportunity to work on a project like this at their school.”
The idea is that the community libraries here are linked, so El Tigre will have the biggest library, and the schools in Los Trojes and La Alegria will have a rotating selection of books, as they only have space for a reading corner. That way, students at all three school have a greater variety of books that they can access. Walter also has plans with the teachers to organize reading days, book theatre workshops and other activities between the schools once the libraries have been set up.
A municipality that reads
As our organization grows, we are focusing more and more on the municipality of Trinidad. Two of our scholarship students come from here (Tania and Javier) and we have set up two libraries here already (one at Guadalupe Ulloa, and one at the local public Kindergarten) in addition to the above three that we are currently working on.
With limited but effectively-managed funding, we aim to create a model municipality in Trinidad, a municipality that reads. As we support teachers and communities in filling in the gaps that exist in the education system from primary level through to university, we hope to work closely with government to create the structures and opportunities that communities and students need to thrive.
The libraries in El Tigre, Los Trojes and La Alegria are funded by the Ashworth Charitable Trust and The Carmela and Ronnie Pignatelli Foundation, with support from the International School of San Pedro Sula and the Municipality of Trinidad.