Recognized by the government and by UNESCO, Fundación Leer’s * purpose is to promote literacy. Since 1997, it has carried out more than 7,000 projects all over Argentina, with 2 million children and 20,000 teachers and teaching assistants. In downtown San Justo, in an underprivileged neighborhood of Buenos Aires, the association set up the “Family of Readers” program, which aims to encourage reading in primary school children. We spoke to Rosmary Godoy, Air Liquide Argentina’s communication manager and the sponsor of this project supported by the Air Liquide Foundation.
What are the main program issues in San Justo?
Generally speaking, it is urgent to offset certain deficiencies in the Argentinian education system. The parents cannot help their children, especially as many don’t speak Argentinian at home but Guarani – an indigenous language of South America – which exacerbates learning difficulties and explains the low literacy rates. Only 3% of the population here goes on to higher education.
How does the program work?
Fundación Leer works with schools to organize workshops with parents and teachers, in order to promote reading and writing in children. The family’s involvement is vital, especially to ensure the work is continued at home. Reading out loud contributes greatly to children’s intellectual and emotional development.
What was the Air Liquide Foundation’s grant used for?
The Air Liquide Foundation financed the acquisition of teaching resources: books, satchels, and games. Often, children have no reading material at home so Fundación Leer gives them a satchel containing two books and a game, in order to start them reading!
What does your role as sponsor represent to you?
I love books and I love reading! Being able to provide some to these children, who otherwise may not have had any at all, is particularly meaningful for me. These books may be the only ones they will own as children, and that’s crucial: reading opens your horizons and pushes children to think beyond their everyday lives. I regularly go into schools to share this with them. With this role as a sponsor, Air Liquide and its Foundation have given me the chance to do something for others, and to give something back to society.
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* “Leer” means “to read” in Spanish