Books for Rural Honduran Schools

Books for Rural Honduran Schools

From Sara Burkes

After volunteering and teaching in Western Honduras, I started a project with the region to bring Spanish children's books to rural schools to help improve literacy for learning.

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There is a small village up in the mountains of Honduras called La Florida.  They say that if you drink the water there you’ll always come back, and I believe it.  I first came to Honduras in 2011 when my friend was stationed there for Peace Corps, skipped out on my family at Christmas to return a second time, and then returned a third time to live and work there in the summer of 2012 in the single classroom with grades 1-3.  That's when the book project started, and currently, we've donated over 3,000 books to 18 different schools.  I blame the water.

 While working in the village school, I helped out with the 26 students in one classroom with one teacher.  I worked primarily with first graders, because with my limited Spanish we could both learn reading and numbers together.  

 Here’s some of the numbers that stood out for me: 6 of my 13 first graders still didn't know their letters, and 2 of them don't know their numbers. 3 of those 6 will be illiterate the rest of their lives, and the other 3 are at a high risk of being the same if something doesn’t change.

 During the summer, I would travel to the library each week and bring back books for my kids to read if they finished their school work.  At the end of each school day, they would flood to my porch to keep reading the books. 

 So, at the end of that summer, I raised $600 from friends and family and bought the first set of books for the classroom.  I had to travel 6 hours by bus to the capital city, and only after visiting 10 bookstores was I able to spend all my money.  Books are rare and expensive in Honduras.

 Since that time, I’ve worked with individuals, a church, and a medical brigade group to continue bringing books, and facilitate trips for clean water projects and medical care assistance.  Together with the villages we are working to create more collaboration and cooperation to learn from each other and assist village children.  You can choose to donate or pick out specific books online that will be collected in the U.S. until they are brought down with volunteers.  Suggestions for books to purchase are at: 

I’m already making plans to go back, but this time with a job as a full time 6th grade teacher at a bilingual school.  I’m still blaming the water.

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