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Category: Guatemala

The Women of Guatemala

There are women in the world stronger and more courageous than you or I could ever dream of being. There are women who haul crates off the backs of buses. They hang off the sides of vans to hitch a ride down the road. They balance a baby on their back and a bucket of…

How One Question Can Change Anything

I recently read a piece in the New York Times about Kyle Schwartz, a Denver-based teacher who began asking her students to complete the following sentence: I wish my teacher knew… The responses were astounding, heartbreaking, inspiring, and enlightening. They gave Ms. Schwartz new insights into her students’ challenges and motivations. One student wrote: I…

A Powerful Impression

During a group discussion on our recent Learning Journey in Guatemala, I challenged my Guatemalan colleagues to recount for our travelers any tales of impact and inspiration from their work. In that moment, my colleague Brenda, one of the Community Facilitators who mentors the youth leaders, offered an example from the community of Chaquijya, one…

Our Work Has Never Been More Necessary

If I ever saw a justification for the work of Reading Village it was this. Every year the Skoll Foundation publishes a ranking of countries by social indicators. Their goal is to create a common vocabulary among changemakers, to identify geographic areas of focus, and to celebrate successes made. This spring, the Skoll Foundation put…

Top Down vs Bottom Up

The two decades following the end of World War II were filled with excitement and challenge as the forces of good had just overcome the forces of evil. The US had beat Germany to the bomb and was in a race to beat the Soviet Union into space. The very definition of “American” was clarified…

The Ceremony of Light

This past January, I had the opportunity to participate in the opening ceremonies in two of our five partner communities. I was in awe of all of the symbolism wrapped into this special Ceremony of Light. From the traditional cloth beneath the flowers and candles that represents the Mayan culture and diversity; to the flowers that…

Context Matters

A few years ago I was invited to China to teach a master workshop on facilitation and leadership. During the first day I was invited by several of the students to join them for lunch.  We sat at a large round table that the waiters soon filled with an array of mouth-watering dishes – roasted…

Guatemala in the Headlines

“We believe that every child should be able to grow up free to express their fullest self, with access to the resources and in possession of the capacities to contribute to their families, their communities, their countries, and our world.” – Linda Smith, Reading Village Founder & Executive Director General Efraín Ríos Montt only needed…

The Injustice of Illiteracy

“Reading is the ultimate weapon, destroying ignorance, poverty, and despair before they can destroy us. A nation that doesn’t read much doesn’t know much. A nation that doesn’t know much is more likely to make poor choices in the home, the marketplace, the jury box and the voting booth. And those decisions ultimately affect an entire nation –…

Living on the Edge

I was eager to connect with “Marco,” one of our dynamic reading promoters, on my recent trip to Guatemala. Last November his father – out of the blue – asked him when he would be getting married. Marco is 17. He explained to his father that his studies were his priority. He has two more…