Our History

 

During a visit to her native Venezuela, América Soler-Everhart saw a critical need – poor rural families couldn’t afford books for their children, and there were no public libraries, which meant that whenever a child needed a book or wanted to study after school, there was no place to go.

 

Driven to help, América set up a bookcase with donated books in her mother’s home, and when neighborhood children came by to read or study they would call the bookcase , “La Pequeña Biblioteca” (The Little Library). La Pequeña Biblioteca was a success, but so many children needed books that América decided to organize volunteers and in 2002 founded FUNDVEC, or Fundación Venezolana Educación y Cultura (Venezuelan Foundation for Education & Culture).

 

Fundraising efforts got underway and in 2004 FUNDVEC built a library, Biblioteca Pública El Páramo in the rural village of Caserío El Páramo near Valle de La Pascua, Guárico State. The library provides 11 rural caserios (villages) with books and publications, computers, audio-visual learning media and workshops. Children from all over the region came to the library, but teachers reported that many were still reading below average. They knew that reading aloud to children was crucial in developing basic pre-literacy skills, but few rural parents read to their children. A major factor was the lack of adequate books – poor families in remote areas had none and their children’s classrooms never had enough.

 

To help isolated rural children become good readers, FUNDVEC launched the Seeds of Knowledge Bookcase Libraries Project in 2007, which installs special bookcases filled with age-appropriate books in rural preschools and classrooms and encourages parents and teachers to read to children every day.

 

Today, Biblioteca Pública El Páramo is a vibrant oasis of learning for 11 rural villages, and pre-school children are becoming eager readers as they listen to wonderful stories from 19 Seeds of Knowledge Bookcase Libraries (so far!) that have been built by generous FUNDVEC supporters.

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