LHI opened the first library in the rural, indigenous community of Chajul, Guatemala in 2010. At 450 members, the one-room space is constantly overcrowded with children and adults eager to learn. With support from Better World Books, LHI will move into a spacious, well-lit building five times the size in order to run programs such as Story Hour and tutoring sessions and serve 250 new library members. LHI will also acquire books, posters, and educational materials in Spanish and learn about Mayan culture, Guatemalan history, human rights, career planning, and other important subjects.
This summer, LHI will clean and paint the building, purchase supplies, and hire local carpenters to build new furniture. We will utilize the help of local youth doing community service as well as international volunteers looking for meaningful service work. As there are already too many demands on our librarian, we will immediately recruit and train a second local librarian as well as student leaders to help users find and access books, make photocopies, and complete their homework. Our long-term goal is to improve academic achievement and literacy rates of children and adults in Chajul, with a particular focus on girls living in extreme poverty.