When exploring different internship opportunities in Latin America, I stumbled upon Pueblo a Pueblo and their Pathways to Literacy project. Knowing how one book or one class can forever change your perspective and life, I was curious to see the project in action.
During my first week in Santiago, I went to Chacaya and visited the elementary school where children swarmed the newly-constructed library during their recess time. Some of the students were playing board games; others completing puzzles, and more perused the shelves full of books. Later in the afternoon, students would read one-on-one with Pueblo a Pueblo’s staff members.
It quickly became obvious that the library was not only a place for books, but a general community space that fostered learning in every capacity. With students buzzing in and out, the amount of excitement and curiosity in the library was palpable.
While this may not sound revolutionary for someone living in the United States, the libraries in Chacaya and ChukMuk bring a new sense of hope to a wider community. According to a recent UNESCO study, Guatemala has the second-lowest reading achievement levels for all third-graders across the 17 Latin American countries. Here around Lake Atitlan, the need is even greater as 50 percent of Santiago’s indigenous children never finish their primary education.
However, with the construction of these new libraries and Pueblo a Pueblo’s ongoing teacher trainings and continuous support, change is slowly happening and that is something worth celebrating!
(Included below are photos from the recent inauguration of the Chacaya school library as well as International Literacy Day, which Pueblo a Pueblo celebrated by training teachers on how to use educational games to improve student performance in math and literacy.)