Rotary Club Of Warwick

Jul4 - Rotary helps children in Guatemala

Caroline Stanton of the Rotary Club of Leamington Regency told Rotarians in Warwick how her father got involved with helping children in Guatemala to read.

The Guatemala Literacy Project is one of Rotary International’s largest projects. Initiated in 1997 it now involves over 600 clubs in 80 Districts across the USA, Canada, Caribbean and UK, and helps to improve education for the most under-served students in Guatemala.

In that time over 208,500 students have been helped by four sustainable projects which have been tested and proved to work. Caroline’s father, John Stanton, got involved in the programme over 7 years ago, and they have taken 2 trips to the country delivering books and other teaching materials.

In a country where over one third of people in rural Guatemala cannot read or write, without which they cannot progress in the modern world, the Literacy Project takes a comprehensive approach. They start by training people to teach – a Spark programme helps primary teachers acquire the skills to teach children to read. 90% of schools in rural areas with a Mayan Indian population where families exist on less than $4 a day, have no textbooks. This is shown to slow down teaching and increase student dropout rates. By providing textbooks, which students rent, the dropout rate falls and educational achievement rises. Fees paid for by the parents and community are recycled to replace the books every 5 years.

60% of jobs in Guatemala now require computer skills and the programme has brought computers to middle schools enabling indigenous young people to transform their lives and support their families. When money is tight often girls get left behind and the programme helps everyone to progress. Again, a small fee ensures a replacement programme and after 100 hours of classes over 3 years students are achieving results in obtaining jobs in modern businesses. A small number of students are identified for scholarships and get supported to reach their potential in higher education

Thanking Caroline for her presentation Rotarian Margaret Morley reminded club how Rotary engages people around the world to focus on a helping poorer countries to advance. President David Smith presented Caroline with a cheque for the Guatemala Literacy Project.

  

For further information about the project visit www.guatemalaliteracy.org

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