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Help encourage literacy in rural communities

By Lexi Stickel

The Rural Education Institute of Mexico is proud to announce that it will be hosting a Día de los Libros/Día de los Niños celebration in La Palma on March 23. The mission of the Rural Education Institute is to improve the future success of children in rural communities through education, life skills and leadership — this includes literacy.

Throughout the year our staff and volunteers have realized that most of the children do not have any books of their own. The Rural Education Institute does provide a library in each of the communities where we work; however, it is only possible to add a handful of new books at a time.

Día de los Libros/Día de los Niños is a popular day for community celebrations in Latin American countries. The day is typically celebrated at the end of April; however, Rural Education Institute chose to host the event at the end of March to avoid conflicts with Semana Santa.

The goal of the event is to increase literacy as well as increase enthusiasm for reading. The Rural Education Institute has a goal to raise 120 books to give away to the children in La Palma. It is rare that they get to have a book of their own. Each book will contain a sticker that has the name of the person who donated the book (or the funds to purchase the book).

The day will be an overall celebration of children and reading! There will be six stations around the community center and each child will receive a “passport” when coming through the gate. They will go through each station and receive a stamp on their passport. Volunteers will run the stations and each station will focus on one of the seven pillars of education that our program is built upon (communication, literacy, life skills, motivation, leadership, creativity, and teamwork).

To contribute to the festival atmosphere, the mothers in the community will bring food and the Rural Education Institute will provide refreshments and a piñata for the children.

The Rural Education Institute is looking for support to make this event a true success for the children of La Palma – either through volunteers, financial donations, book donations, or spreading the word in the San Miguel de Allende community.

For book donations the Rural Education Institute is looking for English books (grades 1-3) and Spanish books (grades 3-12)—used or new. The children have developed their ultimate wish list, including: any Perry Jackson books (in Spanish), any Judy Moody books (in Spanish), and the Hunger Games series (in Spanish).

If you are interested in donating or volunteering for this project, please contact Lexi Stickel at or by calling 415-124-1357.

As Mexico has become the second largest economy in Latin America, there remains a stark inequality in the country’s education system— rural Mexico’s children simply do not have the same opportunities as their urban counterparts. The problem is partly financial (there are few high schools in the campo, and the government does not provide transportation for rural children to attend urban schools), and partly cultural (in rural areas, literacy is low, and education is not always a priority). The Rural Education Institute of Mexico exists to help fill this gap, and to give rural children the incentive and means to go on to high school and beyond.

Our skilled volunteers travel and work in rural community centers, providing programs that introduce children to a world outside the campo. We build libraries and help children improve their reading. Children learn art, drama and English, among other subjects, and are taught to use computers that we supply. We also provide opportunities to children so they can meet the costs of going to high school— about US$700 per student per year—by awarding scholarships.

For more information about the Rural Education Institute of Mexico, please visit our website at or call us at 415-124-1357.


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