- 3 Communities
- 4 Years
- 56 Reading Promoters
- 2,000 Children
In many developing countries, such as Guatemala, there is no culture of literacy. Rates of secondary education are low, families live in poverty, books are inaccessible, community libraries are scarce, and the school system is the worst in the Americas. As a result, in all but the wealthiest communities in Guatemala few adults read for pleasure and far fewer read aloud to their children.
Our Leaders and Readers Program empowers Mayan youth in rural Guatemalan communities to eradicate illiteracy and lead their villages out of poverty.
We invest in teenagers through scholarships, mentoring and leadership development, enabling them to complete high school (an accomplishment that less than 10% of their peers achieve). In return, they volunteer as “reading promoters” – each teenager runs several weekly reading circles for the young children in their community. And together reading promoters and program alumni initiate supporting projects to develop a culture of reading within their own villages, where only 50% of adults can read. In this way, our reading promoters become the first generation of adults in their communities to read to their own children. And the children they have taught over the years will continue the legacy of reading, learning and aspiring, improving the quality of life for themselves and the entire community.
In 2009 we began with just six reading promoters in one single community. Since then, we’ve grown exponentially. Currently, our Leaders & Readers program operates in Concepción, Chuacruz and Los Morales, and we will begin 2013 with about forty promoters reaching over two thousand children!