Caldo de Piedra is a charity that manages and stocks children's libraries. These libraries are operated by parents and the community in support of local public and private schools to help girls and boys discover that learning is part of their lives. We believe in education in its broadest sense, where books are at the heart of an array of creative and artistic projects that engage children in a love of learning.
In Guatemala there are over 15,000 public schools and 4.3 million children. However, most children attend school for only three years, and about half are in first grade (age six). Despite recent efforts to improve education, Guatemala devotes the fewest resources in Latin America towards this end (only 2.5% of GDP) while Costa Rica and Belize invest double in their children’s future. Recent studies have shown that secondary school numeracy and literacy are poor. Parents often do not participate in schoolwork and stay away from the schools. The future of the educational system in Guatemala hinges on the partnering between parents, the community and their local teachers. This is where Stone Soup provides a powerful bridge.
We are partners with La Casa del Libro, a highly acclaimed charity that stimulates reading. Building upon the success of the project, we are expanding to small towns and villages in Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
Why Children’s Books?
- Reading is the key medium for lifelong learning.
- Reading develops children’s language ability, critical thinking and nurtures their imagination.
- Reading gives children more confidence and enables them to express their opinions.
- Children are more receptive than adults to learning – and have more leisure time than most adults.
- Reading is a means to children understand their own culture, history and language.
- A library offers children a safe alternative to the street.
- A facility designed for children is more welcoming than the more formal, silent atmosphere of an adult library.
- A library provides a venue conducive to other learning projects, e.g. arts, music, drama, computer, film, story-telling, poetry readings.
- A library provides a place where services can be offered to the community, e.g. visiting doctors, dentists, health workers, environmental advisors and teachers.
- A borrowed book is a valuable tool for enriching family life and teaching children to be responsible for loaned items.
Our vision is that all children in Guatemala, regardless of sex, religion, race, or educational level, should have the opportunity to access books and other resources which are taken for granted in the developed world, in order to develop a love of learning.
We aim to support the creation of community-operated children’s libraries that augment school education by improving literacy and providing a wealth of creative projects . We want to involve parents and the community in their children’s learning process and to make this sustainable through training local librarians.
How We Operate
- We meet members of communities that are interested in hosting a library.
- We obtain a commitment from the community to obtain a centrally located building or a plot of land on which to build the library, and to hire a local librarian.
- A steering committee is formed by members of the community.
- Caldo de Piedra supplies books, seed funding, computers, and additional facilities e.g. educational materials, playground.
- In conjunction with the community we create a quality environment for children.
- Librarian and other members of the community receive training on educational techniques through our partners.
- We work with the community to replace and augment the library’s books and other materials.
Sources of Funding
- Private national and international donations for facilities.
- Book donations or funding.
- Hiring out function room for films, art installations, meetings, playgroups, adult education classes, internet access, printing facilities.
- Tiered sponsor membership.
- Community funding of the librarian.
Kyle Passarelli email@example.com
Kyle was born in Guatemala and trained as an engineer at the University of Colorado. He has rendered illustrations for textbooks and worked as a project manager at an electronics company in Edinburgh, Scotland. He obtained a masters degree from Heriot Watt University in 2007 and has contributed work to an academic journal.
Cassandra Passarelli firstname.lastname@example.org
Born in London, Cassandra ran a successful bakery for ten years. She spent two years managing a charity working with inner-city children at risk and three as a magazine sub-editor. She did her degree in literature at the University of London, a post-graduate in Journalism at LCP and a masters in creative writing at the University of Edinburgh. Her short stories have won literary prizes in the UK.