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Emelie Taylor's Fundraiser:

Changing Lives Through Literacy in the Peace Corps

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BENEFITING:

Emelie Taylor

THE STORY:

PUBLIC LIBRARY IN RURAL PERUVIAN VILLAGE: LACK OF FUNDING LEADS TO UNDEREDUCATED STUDENTS

WHAT: Small Public Library used to aid in the education of children grades K-12, promote reading and literature among families and the overall population as well as provide a safe environment for children to learn, explore, and discover.

WHERE: Small rural village in northern Peru: Pampa Elera Alta, Las Lomas, Piura, Peru. The village has a total population of 786 inhabitants, 62% of which are under the age of 18 (Community Diagnostic, 2013).

WHY: The Public Library of Pampa Elera Alta has made amazing strides. It was constructed by a community volunteer in 2009 and its doors stayed opened until 2011. Due to lack of funding, the library was forced to pad lock its doors. Consequentially, the building was used to house old scrap material and deteriorated immensely. However, an extremely ambitious community citizen, Orfelinda Lopez, decided that lack of funding would not stand in her way. She obtained the keys to the local, moved all of the pipes, sheet metal, broken chairs and old desks and began to restore what was once the Public Library of Pampa Elera Alta.

Today, Mrs. Lopez is the library’s official librarian. She attends to the library every Monday through Friday, 3pm-5:30pm, without pay. Every day the library has anywhere from 3 to 15 students of all ages come to read what little material there is, play with the miss-matched puzzles, and to seek help on homework from older students or from Mrs. Lopez herself.

Moreover, Mrs. Lopez started a library club. Every Wednesday at 3pm, 28 elementary school students and 6 middle school students gather to discuss what books they are reading, what projects they have for school, and ideas they have to improve the library. The Library club also hosts family nights once a month to promote reading between parents and children. One Saturday a month the club organizes a theme, markets the theme around town, and hosts families as they come to celebrate the theme with their children through literature.
Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, the hard work Mrs. Lopez has put into the public library of Pampa Elera Alta will soon go to waste. Pampa Elera Alta has solicited the local government for funding but was turned down due to “lack of wiggle room in the budget”. The library has minimal reading material for the children to enjoy. When the kids come in to do homework or work on projects, they always need information or references. Regrettably, due to lack of resources, the library is not able to provide what the children need. Furthermore, the Library Club has no materials to work with. Organizing and executing successful events that are fun and enjoyable for families is becoming more and more difficult due to the lack of materials. Also, the library needs a new face. While it was in storage, its outside was vandalized and consequently, many children laugh when they walk by due to what has been drawn on it. Finally, no one has adequate equipment. The books lack shelves, the children lack sturdy chairs and tables, and the librarian lacks a place to sit!

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