Rigoberto Zamora Charuc could have never been to school like many indegenous children in Guatemala. However he got the opportunity to be approached by a religious institution which offered him a free education. As he speaks about this episode of his life he is still amazed by the presence of two libraries in which he could discover the delights of reading. This pleasure, so hardly accessible to young guatemaltecans, he wished to transmit by creating « El proyecto » in 1990.
This project has 4 fundamental goals : initiate the children into reading thanks to a bibliobus and the fundation of public libraries, put in place a scholarship program enabling youngs from poor families to study, administrate a middle school with high edeucation standards, build schools in rural communities. The first stone is laid in 1994 with the fundation of the Spanish School which should allow to partly finance the Bibliobus in 1999. It’s a first reached goal for Probigua which encourages its founder to continue his efforts : in the following years many libraries are built all over the country. There are 16 of them today and this number keeps on growing since another project is currently in preparation along with modernizations (computers…) and extensions.
In the meantime, Probigua puts in place a scholarship program for indigenous women who are the most affected by illiteracy in Guatemala. There are currently about 40 women who benefit from this scholarship every year to study in various schools.
Otherwise the construction of the « Collegio San Pedro » is achieved in 2009 and gives a new impulse to the project, an impulse very dear to the heart of Rigoberto : offering a quality education to young people of rural families which can from now on enjoy the teachings and the different equipments such as the computer and music rooms as well as libraries, of course ! The middle school is very successful since the pupils brillantly go on their studies in other schools while the teachers’ qualifications keep on increasing : at the moment 90% of the staff has a University degree.
The four objectives Rigoberto set for Probigua 25 years ago have now been achieved particularly thanks to the constant help of the Swiss branch of Probigua and the contributions of generous donators. The language school has also experienced a growing success with 400 students coming every year and a growing number of teachers as well which jumped from 5 to 35 between 1990 and today. We should like to underline that some of the women teaching today benefited from the scholarship program earlier. The projects led with determination throughout the years have caught the attention of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which awarded Probigua a grant of $250,000.00
Dollars, witnessing once more if need be the quality of the efforts undertaken during the past 2015 years. The money was used to buy computers to equip the schools and the libraries.
When the floor is given to its founder, he gives us his vision of the progress made by Probigua : « I think Probigua has meant a lot in the lives of millions of people and families throughout the country. We haven’t bettered the school system of the country but we improved the education in numerous communities et the living standards of numerous families as well. Probigua is still working for a better country through education ».
Indeed the progress doesn’t stop here for Probigua ; new projects keep seeing the light of day for the 25 years to come : maintain the reading program in libraries, building more schools in poorer areas, improving the service of Collegio Sa, Pedro, give the opportunity to the 75% of the population too poor to study to do so.