Diversity & Outreach Columns ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

27Aug/12Off

REFORMA Book Donation Spreads Joy in 4 Countries

The recent donation of 500+ books by Hector Marino was a bigger gift than even he could have imagined.  The books were first brought to René Bue, Bilingual Outreach Coordinator at Hedberg Public Library in Janesville Wisconsin by Armando Trejo, then president of the REFORMA Midwest Chapter.  With René’s connections to international libraries, the books were about to take a journey to 3 different countries, where they would bring smiles to many children.

The first group to receive some of the books was the Friends of Emiliano Zapata in Emiliano Zapata, Chiapas, Mexico.  As noted on their Facebook page, the “Friends of Emiliano Zapata began with 14 people from the United States traveling to Chiapas, Mexico after Christmas 2010, to learn about the long-time work of our United Church of Christ among the Maya people of Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state. In 2012 we will return to complete a comprehensive assessment of health, nutrition, and resources, in order to start a process to promote sustainable wellness for the beautiful people of this rural community of Emiliano Zapata.”  According to member,  Shirley DiFrancesco, “A small group just returned from a trip down there and the books were greatly appreciated.”

             

 
 
(Pictures from the Friends of Emiliano Zapata Facebook page)

The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas (W/NP) Lending Library program in Nicaragua also received a box of books.  These books will be sent to Nicaragua via cargo ship in the near future to use in some of the more than 17 lending libraries.

From the W/NP website (www.wisnic.org): “According to the World Bank, Nicaragua is listed among the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Education efforts have improved over the years, yet at the present time, there are still approximately 300,000 children outside the educational system. The ability to read, write and understand printed material is a fundamental skill necessary for academic success, most employment and daily life in general. Access to quality reading material is nearly non-existent for many children.  The Lending Library project meets the acute need for accessible quality reading materials in rural and urban communities. The primary goal is to offer reading opportunities for children and adults in selected communities of Nicaragua. Being able to check out books and take them home encourage leisure reading and parental involvement in various reading environments (home, school and library.)”

 

 

 

(Pictures from Amy Wiza, W/NP)

The next program to receive books was Weave Hope Inc. in Santa Catarina Palopó in Guatemala.  Weave Hope’s founder, Erin Conway, came to Hedberg Public Library to pick up 2 boxes of boxes of books when she was home for a week in July.

According to the Weave Hope Facebook page, “Weave Hope Inc. is a non-profit founded to directly support literacy promotion in the community library Ru K'ux Na'oj in Santa Catarina Palopo, Guatemala.  Weave. Hope. Inc.'s mission is to promote a local and sustainable economic and educational circle in order to enhance the opportunities for academic advancement in the student and youth population for the Mayan village of Santa Catarina Palopó, Guatemala by providing support of traditional artisan crafts and the circulation of informational resources and learning support programs in a local library/community center that aids all levels of educational and community development.”

Weave Hope  Inc.  fills two specific needs in the village. It seeks to adapt and provide a market for these artisan creations as a means to increase a market for the women involved and provide an economic boost to the community as well as reinvesting the profit made on the sales into the support of the community library project. As a result, reinvesting in the village through educational resources and programs.

Since 2010 activities have centered on promotion of the library resources through reading contests, professional development provided by non profit literacy organizations working in Guatemala, principally Child Aid, workshops focusing on literacy instruction for teachers in the local primary school and community outreach. Weave. Hope. Inc. also officially formed in 2010, seeking primarily to solicit funds for a full time librarian, a larger space and the necessary furniture, tables, chairs, and bookshelves to house the growing student use.

 

 

 

 

(Photos from Erin Conway)

Ms. Bue was also able to keep some of the books to add to the Children’s Spanish collection at Hedberg Public Library and some to use as give-aways at their annual Día de los niños program in April.  This was a very generous gift that will change a lot of lives for children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and locally in Janesville, Wisconsin.  ¡Muchísimas gracias Señor Marino!