An indigenous Guatemalan child living in Chajul may never open a story book in her own home. More than half of Chajulense children are malnourished, and community members struggle physically and economically from environmental issues such as contaminated drinking water, indoor air pollution, waste management, and lack of energy. In the interest of propagating sustainable change, we train Philanthropiece Scholars – local university students – to become community leaders capable of addressing each of these concerns.
Through a dynamic curriculum led by dynamic local mentors, the Scholars gain the capacity needed to develop literacy, food security, and environmental projects. For example, they provide literacy outreach programs, offering story hours and a book-lending program that can become the first step in creating a culture of literacy in a community. Scholars also work closely with village leaders to create school gardens that serve as sustainable solutions to food security while simultaneously providing experiential learning opportunities for local children and families. Additionally, Philanthropiece Scholars educate community members about environmental sustainability and conservation, and how basic interventions can lead to positive change in their daily lives.
Photo Credit: Sue Rissberger Photography