We believe community-created libraries can fundamentally transform learning environments at schools. Books broaden horizons, open minds and inspire creativity.
This is the Las Lagunas primary school, where we are working with the community to start a library. 33 Kindergarten and primary-aged students (grades 1-6) come here 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, the students 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 While there are some outdated textbooks, the children do not have any other reading materials.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.
“I want to introduce them to the world of literature, science, art and technology through reading,” says Lorena. “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 this school 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.
- The Las Lagunas primary schools approached us independently for support with this projects and we have worked with Lorena and other members of the community to come up with a project implementation plan.
- Lorena, along with other Honduran and international teachers, worked with us to come up with a preliminary list of books.
- Currently, the school is working with the local community 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.
- The 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.