The School and Library in Tzanchaj, Atitlán through partnership with Child Aid
In 1999, Jim’s Organic Coffee focused efforts on building a school library in Tzanchaj, Atitlán, Guatemala; just down the slopes from where our coffee is grown. From planning to construction, the project spanned 5 years, and during that time, more funds were donated to improve general classrooms, better sanitation, and build additional learning spaces.
In 2004, the library was complete, but in need of books! Visiting schools in less developed parts of the world, one is struck by the lack of books in classrooms. The schools make do with what they have, but providing more books greatly increases literacy and encourages a love of reading. In Tzanchaj, Jim’s Organic Coffee donated additional funds to stock the library with Spanish children’s books and textbooks, and funded literacy programs, teacher training programs, and librarian training.
The library was an immediate success with the school and community, showing a positive shift in the students’ attitudes toward reading, as well as their grades. One highly successful literacy program that was introduced involved the village elders telling stories. The stories were told in Tsutsuhuil; the Mayan dialect that the children grow up speaking in Tzanchaj. The elders’ stories would then be translated into Spanish, and made into little books — a great program to bring the community together and teach the joys of reading and writing.
In 2018, Jim’s Organic Coffee and Child Aid began implementing similar programming at a neighboring school in Panabaj, Guatemala. The four year program includes extensive teacher training of the school’s 15 teachers, four literacy book club programs for students, and a total of 1725 books provided to the school, providing a collection of at least 7 books per child in the school by program’s end. Jim’s Organic Coffee is thrilled to participate in and sponsor this program, and to see yet another school in this region flourish through literacy and reading.