Celebrate children and literature during Día de los Libros/Día del Niños

By Lexi Stickel

Many of the children living in rural areas do not own any books of their own. According to a study released in 2011, Mexicans read fewer than three books, on average, per year—one of the lowest reading rates worldwide. The Rural Education Institute of Mexico is attempting to change this pattern by creating libraries in rural communities. This year will mark the Rural Education Institute’s first annual Día de los Libros/Día de los Niños event in the community of La Palma.

Día de los libros
Sun, Mar 23, 1–4pm
La Palma Community
50 pesos
Carpool at 12:30pm
St. Paul’s Church
Cardo 6

Día de los Libros/Día de los Niños is celebrated in the United States as Children’s Day/Book Day —many libraries throughout the United States use this day to celebrate Latino culture in the United States. Children’s Day is a celebrated holiday throughout Latin America and the world, to honor children globally. Typically Latin American countries, including Mexico, celebrate the day on April 30th.

On Sunday, March 23 from 1–4pm the Rural Education Institute will celebrate Día de los Libros/Día de los Niños in the community of La Palma. The organization has raised funds to purchase over 100 books to give away to the children of La Palma. Volunteers will be assisting with the event and guests from San Miguel de Allende are welcome to attend the event for a suggested 50 pesos donation. There will be carpools leaving from St. Paul’s Church at 12:30pm. For more information about the event please visit www.ruraledinst.org or email ruraleducationinstitutemexico@gmail.com.

The day will be an overall celebration of children and reading. The parents will bring traditional food and beverages and the Rural Education Institute of Mexico will have a piñata for the children. There will be six activity stations set up around the community center, where each child will receive a “passport” when coming through the gate. They will go through each station and receive a stamp on their passport. Each station will focus on one of the seven pillars of education that our program is built upon (communication, literary, life skills, motivation, leadership, creativity  and teamwork). After finishing all six stations and receiving six stamps in their passports, each child will be welcome in the community center to select a book to keep permanently.

The Rural Education Institute is thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to the children of La Palma in an effort to encourage book ownership and excitement of reading.

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 www.ruraledinst.org or call us at 415-124-1357.


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