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Canadians and Amistad Support Local Projects

By Jaci Winters

The history of Canadian involvement in the Biblioteca begins with Helen Wale, who started the first reading and literacy program in 1954 at her home in San Miguel. This eventually led to the renovation of a permanent home for the Biblioteca in its present building in 1978. Many volunteers—Canadian, American, and Mexican contributed time and funds to establish what is now a renowned cultural and educational entity in San Miguel and the second largest bilingual library in Mexico.

Canadians have provided support to other projects and programs over the years, but with the founding of Amistad Canada, a Canadian charity, in 2009, more Canadians became involved in locally based NGO projects. Canadian donors now receive a tax receipt from Amistad Canada when they donate to these projects, which are locally administered but annually audited by Amistad. Each project has a Canadian Project Chair and Auditor.

The Biblioteca Amistad Education Project began in 2011 in partnership with Amistad Canada. Its purpose is to support scholarships and provide enrichment classes and Spanish library books for young Mexicans. Since 2011, Canadians have donated between US$5,000-$7,000 annually for the project.

In 2017, Canadian donors provided 33,000 pesos to support teacher salaries for computer and guitar classes for Mexican youth. Sixty students participated in computer classes and 20 in guitar classes. These free classes give young people of limited means opportunities to broaden and enrich their education. This past year, 44,000 pesos from Canadian donors ensured that there was a budget for Spanish books. A total of 183 new books were purchased, 99 for children and 84 for youth. These new books help to improve both literacy and enjoyment for Mexican youth. In addition 34,000 pesos were awarded toward scholarships for five university students and seven high school students. Scholarships are important not only to help students complete high school and ensure a basic education but also to allow them to continue their education, improving their future access to jobs and new economic opportunities.

Additional funds from benefit concerts in San Miguel by Canadian musicians Bram Morrison over several years, and Ken Dunn in 2016, contributed to the Amistad Biblioteca Education Project.

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Canadians wishing to support this worthwhile project can receive a Canadian tax receipt by:

  1. 1. Sending a check to Amistad Canada or making an E-interac bank transfer (for details and tax receipt, see amistadcanada.org).
  2. 2. Use a credit card—go to Canadahelps.org—choose AmistadCanada and the project you want to support—they will send you a tax receipt by e-mail.
  3. 3. Pick up a Donor Choice brochure at Biblioteca—complete the form and leave check or cash at Administration Office .

 

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