Monday, October 01, 2012

Doors of Knowledge Opened in Tola, Nicaragua

In 2010, former FSD intern and Tola IPC, Steve Merritt, catalyzed change in the small rural community of Limon 2, Nicaragua. Steve identified the nearby luxury resort, Rancho Santana, as an untapped asset to the local community, and sought to make connections between the luxury homeowners and local village leadership. Through a series of community meetings, representatives from Limon 2, FSD, and Rancho Santana decided that a great way to move the relationship forward was through the creation of a library that would expose children and adults of the community to literature, as well as host free activities such as art projects, tutoring, and sports.

Today, two years later, the library—now named Doors of Knowledge (Puertas del Saber) after a community vote—caters to over 20 children per day and has hosted a number of community events, such as the Day of the Book, where over 80 people gathered to honor books and reading. The Puertas del Saber library is now an official FSD Tola community partner that has hosted interns and serves as a hub for community organizing in the town of Limon 2.  Ruth Obando is the town’s ‘reading promoter,’ who rides her bicycle from household to household engaging families in the art and entertainment of reading and focusing on inspiring young children and adolescents to read stories. Ruth says, "I get a very positive reaction from the children who show much interest and satisfaction when I share stories with them. The children do not want me to leave and beg me to read just one more book." She has said to the parents, "take advantage of this opportunity that is being offered to you", that parents can be "a great help in the education of their children and they should help them in any way they can."

The library president, Sonia Noguera, has been invited to attend the second largest book fair in the world, the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of scholars, teachers, professionals, adolescents, and children come to this iconic event to share stories, debut publications, and network. Through support of donors, FSD is sending Sonia to help her further develop the Puertas del Saber library in Limon 2  From a part of a brainstorming session in a community meeting to a full-fledged community center, the Puertas del Saber library has come a long way, and FSD is proud to have been there for every step!

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