Guatemala Literacy Project
The Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) is one of the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district projects in Rotary. More than 600 clubs and 80 districts have been working together since 1997 to improve education for underserved students in Guatemala. In that time, nearly 225,500 students have been served through four sustainable programs that are tested and proven to work.
The region has one of the most extreme combinations of systemic poverty, illiteracy, and inequality in the hemisphere:
- Four out of five indigenous Guatemalans live in poverty.
- One out of three cannot read or write.
- They lack the basic reading skills necessary to understand a bank statement, voting ballot, or urgent health warnings, such as the current guidelines for stopping the spread of COVID-19.
- Experts estimate that for every 10 children in Guatemala, only four will make it to middle school, and only two will complete high school.
- These young people lack the skills to achieve higher-paying jobs, and the cycle of poverty continues.
The GLP’s Solution : Address gaps in Guatemala’s education system
#1 The Spark Reading Program addresses the lack of materials and effective teaching methods in primary schools, by providing training that enables primary-school teachers to become experts in reading instruction. Each teacher is equipped with his/her own set of 36-75 children’s books for reading in the classroom every day.
#2 The Textbook and Computer Centers address the lack of vital learning materials in middle schools by providing schools with textbooks in four subjects or setting up state-of-the-art computer labs.
Both programs train teachers in how to use the materials effectively and prepare them with strategies to impart critical thinking skills and make their classrooms more student-centered.
The materials are provided on the condition that students’ parents commit to paying a small fee each year for their child to use the books or computers;
The fees go into a fund used to cover ongoing program expenses and to replace materials and equipment as it wears out.
The innovative “revolving fund” model ensures that once the initial investment is made, the programs become self-sufficient
#3 The Rise Youth Development Program works to reduce gender disparities in education in Guatemala.
- Provide students the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.
- Empower impoverished youth to graduate from high school.
- Develop potential for Guatemalan youth to permanently break the cycle of poverty.
GLP has Proven Success: Past evaluations of GLP projects have revealed the following promising results:
- Kids in classrooms with the Spark Reading Program are learning twice as much as kids in non-Spark classrooms. With Spark, twice as many students are reading fluently by the end of 2nd grade.
- Students at schools receiving GLP textbooks score higher on national standardized tests than students at schools without GLP textbooks.
- 95% of Computer Center graduates get a job or continue their studies. Right out of school, Rise Youth Development Program graduates are earning four times more than their parents.
- Half are even paying for their younger siblings’ education.
- This will truly be the first generation in their family’s history to rise out of poverty—thanks to the education provided by the Guatemala Literacy Project.
Windsor-Roseland Rotarians have traveled to Guatemala to participate in the GLP Textbook Delivery Tours, Computer Lab Inaugurations, and have attended Graduation Ceremonies for the students they have sponsored students in the Rise Youth Development Program.
Seven Windsor Roseland Members have traveled and have participated directly in the program 25 times over the past 15 + years. They are: Sheila Mosley (11 visits), Betty Maddocks (1), Joyce Jones (3), Gisele Sequin (6), Paula Talbot (1), Linda Morrow (1), Louann Pope(1) and Jennifer Jones (2).
Guatemala Literacy Fellow
The following members of the Rotary Club of Windsor Roseland are recognized as Guatemala Literacy Fellows:
Betty Maddocks Sheila Mosley
Elaine Snaden Darren Winger
Paula Talbot Gisele Seguin