Unlike many foundations Puedo Leer's mission is simple, we want to bring the joy of reading to the children and people of Nicaragua. Yes, through the success of our libraries and programs we hope we will affect their education, their careers, their goals and their family home life but the thrust is to introduce more people here to reading.
It is hard to imagine schools without textbooks, homes without books and scant access to libraries let alone the ability to borrow books. All of which we take for granted in the developed countries. Reading for pleasure is virtually unknown here even for those few lucky enough to get a college education and most of the children do not make it through grade school for carious reasons which is a topic for another time.
So how many people do we affect with our libraries and programs? Our main library sees the most activity with three to four hundred books checked out each month. Many more use the main library to just get a book and read there, to do their homework with the reference materials and to socialize with friends. It is a community center for the area where games can be played and just do what children do together. Our two reading corners do the same on a smaller scale since they are smaller and have fewer books. Carol, Helen and Ruth have also set up many community centers/libraries in the Granada area and helped many other organizations in other locations within Nicaragua.
But we reach the most children with our book deliveries to the 27 local schools in the Granada area. Every two weeks bags of books are delivered to each school to allow the teacher to read a book a day to the children. For the older children chapter books are delivered. Two weeks later the books are swapped for other books to ensure they have a continuous supply of different books. Again, it is hard to believe that so few schools have books to read for pleasure. In fact many teachers needed classes on how to read stories to children. With the book delivery program we are touching thousands of young lives.
Add to this, the multiplier effect where having one child learn the joy of reading may lead their friends, sisters, brothers and other family members to also begin the road to books. Statistics show that those that like to read generally do better in school so we have another multipler effect.
So how many lives have we affected? We really do not know but it is many of thousands. Seeing one child discover the magic of reading is wonderful and fulfilling. Seeing a roomful of children listening to every word of a reading is beyond imagination. We are seeing a difference already.
The Puedo Leer Team