Child Aid’s work in Latin America began after husband and wife founders Rick Carroll and Nancy Press traveled to southern Mexico in 1987. There they witnessed the troubling lack of services available to deaf and hard-of-hearing children. What began with bringing surplus hearing aids to a local Oaxacan doctor nearly 25 years ago led to the creation of CORAL, a full-service hearing program in Mexico. The only organization of its type in southern Mexico, CORAL assists more than 2,500 hearing-disabled individuals and their families annually.
Guatemala and Reading for Life
Child Aid’s work in Guatemala began when founder Rick Carroll traveled to the country in 1993 to study Spanish. During his stay, he met Rigoberto Zamora, founder of the organization PROBIGUA, which then focused on creating community libraries in impoverished indigenous communities. On average, rural indigenous children in Guatemala finish only 3½ years of schooling, and more than 50 percent of Guatemalans cannot read beyond the simplest of words. Over the next 13 years, Child Aid worked in partnership with PROBIGUA to create or improve 34 community libraries and 16 computer centers throughout the country.
Today, we bring training, support and mentorship to teachers and librarians in 63 schools and 22 libraries, reaching over 13,000 students and 600 teachers and librarians in Guatemala’s indigenous Central Highlands. The main thrust of our work is Reading for Life, the childhood literacy program that provides training to hundreds of librarians, teachers and community leaders, empowering them to teach and promote reading with greater effectiveness. In addition, thousands more benefit from the Spanish-language children’s books that we deliver to schools and libraries in remote communities throughout the country.