We believe education is the most effective long-term solution to poverty. Day in and day out we work to improve children’s lives by helping them learn to read, succeed in school and develop the literacy skills they need to improve their lives. To do this most effectively, we rely on these guiding principles:
- The ability to read is both personally empowering and essential to a child’s capacity to imagine, pursue and realize a better life.
- Long-term commitment is a must. Whenever we partner with a community, we commit to a minimum of three years of training and capacity-building for local teachers and librarians. Following our three-year program, we provide ongoing resources, consulting, training, and materials for as long the community requests our assistance and continues to make progress toward improving literacy for children.
- Local individuals know the most culturally appropriate and effective way to bring about change. We hire and train nearly all of our staff from within and around the regions where we work. Their knowledge informs and shapes our program, which we tailor to each community.
- Indigenous culture must be valued. Most of the people we work with are indigenous Mayas. We therefore strive to create programs that both respect and help preserve local indigenous languages and cultures. Most of our Guatemalan staff members are indigenous and speak at least one indigenous language, including K’iché, Kaqchikel and Tz’utujil.
- Training is the most effective way to bring about lasting change. Our program is sustainable because we help rural teachers develop skills they can use the rest of their lives—skills that will turn generations of children into better readers.
- Flexibility is key. We recognize that we don’t have all the answers. By listening closely to the people who participate in our program, we continually adapt, innovate and improve Reading for Life so it most effectively serves the people involved. Flexibility is crucial to success in the regions where we work.
- Organizational integrity is vital. We operate a nimble, non-bureaucratic streamlined organization. We consistently devote nearly all of our income to programs, not fundraising and overhead.