Ernesto lives in the coffee producing community of Pasaq, Guatemala. Both his parents are illiterate. When he entered kindergarten, he had never been read to, never held a book in his life and had no early-childhood literacy skills. At five years old, he walked into a neglected rural classroom that was nearly empty of books. His teacher had almost no experience in teaching children to read. The odds he would make it to sixth grade, or even learn to read, were slim.
That all changed for Ernesto when Child Aid brought its Brewing a Difference through Literacy program to his village. Now, like the other 125 children in Pasaq, he has the hope of a brighter future. Two years into the program, he can read exceptionally well, and he has access to hundreds of high quality children’s books.
The challenges Ernesto faces are typical for children in Guatemala’s coffee regions. The country that produces some of the world’s finest coffee is also home to extreme poverty and the lowest literacy rate in all of Latin America. More than 50 percent of the country’s indigenous children never make it through primary school, and only 24 percent finish middle school. Lacking the ability to read or write, these children face an almost impenetrable barrier to rising above poverty.
Brewing a Difference helps thousands of children in seven coffee communities improve their lives through education. Through the program, Child Aid provides desperately needed training, resources and educational materials to teachers in schools that have all but been abandoned. It creates and improves community libraries and brings thousands of books to rural classrooms. And it helps teachers create programs that inspire children to read and learn.
Child Aid created Brewing a Difference in order to link coffee companies around the world with the organization’s literacy initiatives in Guatemalan coffee communities. It is our goal is to create educational opportunity for thousands more children like Ernesto, while giving coffee companies a unique and effective way to give back to the towns and villages that produce such excellent coffee.
Who Benefits From This Project?
Brewing a Difference Through Literacy currently serves nearly 3,000 children in seven remote coffee producing communities in Guatemala’s Central Highlands: Pasaq, Palá, Xojolá, Yepocapa, Chicacao, Yoxojá, and Tzanchaj. All but one of these are indigenous Mayan communities, and all lack educational infrastructre and resources. The project also helps undertrained teachers in more than 100 rural classrooms get advanced, ongoing literacy training so they can more effectively teach at-risk children to read.
Your company can sponsor and specific village through our Brewing a Difference program. Whether through a grant, matching gift or ongoing proceeds from coffee sales, your support will help hundreds of children overcome illiteracy. We’ll provide the stories, photographs, blogs and other materials you need to let your customers know about the impact of your sponsorship.
As an individual, you can donate or volunteer with Child Aid. We depend on our supporters to fund book distributions, daily reading programs, teacher trainings and library improvements. The result is educational opportunity for children in remote coffee growing communities.
Visit www.child-aid.org to learn about our overall literacy work, and call us at 503-223-3008 to discuss ways get involved through Brewing a Difference. Thank you.