A group of students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) will give the gift of literacy this holiday season while on a service-learning trip to Caluco, El Salvador.
The students recently created the Learning Through Libraries project to battle illiteracy in the developing world. They will travel with a Harvard administrator to El Salvador next month to create libraries for three rural communities, providing them with books, painting murals on walls, and training local educators how to best use their newly acquired materials and resources.
Through partnerships with several Cambridge organizations and businesses, as well as the Amigos School in Cambridge, the HGSE students collected more than $5,000 and plan to distribute close to 1,500 books.
Additionally, the students have collaborated with a number of nongovernmental organizations in El Salvador that will assist in the training and teaching efforts, and help to develop oral history and photography projects.
“We all wanted to get involved in service and literacy, and then it all came together and just kept building,” said Debra Gittler, HGSE ’10, a founder of the project. “Every time we think we are done, something else ends up happening. It’s so exciting.”
— Colleen Walsh