Lending Library update
Since 2019 we have been trying to get a lending library started in San Pedro. Encouraging children to read is really important!
Many of the children in this area have very poor reading and writing skills, and many stop attending school after Primary, because it's too much of a struggle for them.
The children that receive food via the Kids Kitchens in two locations, are also part of the activities program. So they get encouragement in reading, writing and other activities, under the guidance of Lupita.
In November 2021, Patricia Moran, restarted the Kids library lending program. She had first witnessed the power of putting a book in a child’s hands when she was in India working with Madhan Mohan and the Regenbood India Foundation. The children living in “slum areas” were at first reluctant to even touch, much less take home, a book. But once they got over their fears of getting in trouble if something happened to the book in their care, the mobile library was met with wild enthusiasm every time it pulled up. I got to watch the magic of children exploring their own interests, finding the next book they wanted to read, expanding their perspectives in all ways through reading.
When Patricia moved to Ajijic and started to volunteer in the villages east of Chapala, she wanted to start a program where kids here, living in poverty that rivaled what she had experienced in India, would have the opportunity to read.
On the first day of this program in the two Kids Kitchens, Patricia's team gave out 80 books with the book bags, notebooks and pens to the children. Each child choose a book for the week and had an assignment to either draw a picture or write something about the book in the notebook. If they did their assignment, they get a sticker (their favorite part!) and once they accumulate enough stickers, they get a small prize.
So far there are two libraries in two of the locations where we feed children (in La Peña and los Mangoes, through a program called Kids Kitchens, supported by FoodBank Lakeside. These two locations serve about 200 children a meal 5 days a week. (We now have six locations serving meals to over 600 children.)
The photos tell the story.
The following week the volunteers joked that they hoped at least some of the children would return the books with their little assignment. So it was a happy moment when every single child had done what they were asked and were eager for their next book! These kids are amazing.
And here is Patricia with some of the children happily showing off the books they have chosen to read.
In 2019, volunteer Neila Nazarko organized the books that had already been donated in the community center office. It was a mess! Then of course everything got shut down in 2019 and Neila and Rick returned to Canada! So it's great to see that their ideas have blossomed!
We always need Spanish children's books! If you have any, please consider donating some to our program! Thank you!