ALAS

ALAS is a youth organization responsible for promoting reading as a means of personal growth in finding oneself.
We are focused on solving the low primary and secondary level of education that Paraguay has.
We firmly believe that reading as an inexhaustible source of information and as a tool that brings fundamental situations of our society is our main weapon to achieve our objectives.
We create reading spaces where children and adolescents can find people who would help them in the search for who they are. The freedom to read what you want is our main strategy for finding your true self.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

Promote and implement the reading habit in children and young people, this would let them to act as catalysts for problems in our society.
Specific objectives:
- Create Book Clubs in public and private school students from the age of 12
- Empowering members who wish to volunteer to teach reading and writing to poor children living on streets, who have a poor performance in these areas
- Make reading circles with members of the Club which will be debated social issues through reading novels of a similar theme.
- Transport discussions to reality through activities such as groups reading on public spaces
- Construction reading spaces around the country
- Achieving an increase in reading and writing skills of the kids who we work with

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

50 students from my school read their first books in our reading club. They are all still in our club reading many more books.
Specific objectives:
- We've created 3 reading clubs in 3 different institutions with an average of 50 students per group
- 20 students are helping us with out activities for a shelter of 60 kids who live and used to work on the streets (city of San Lorenzo
- Debates have been part of our reading club meetings. Subject such as corruption, education and gender equality are being address on these spaces
- We've done something we call Al Aire Libro twice: students, teachers, parents and volunteers meet on the streets of Asuncion to read for two hours. We do this to break the idea that reading is boring
- We've seen an considerable scholar improvement on all the kids who we work with

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

Young students worked as bridges between problems and solutions, children and adults. These volunteers were able to bring people together for a great cause, education. Students, teachers, parents, principals, graduates, foreign, and many other people were and are still involved in our cause from their own positions in our society.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

- 80 young people from the whole central department are volunteers of ALAS
- 50+ students have a changed in their vision about our reality, all of this through the habit of reading
- 60 kids from a shelter in the city of San Lorenzo had the opportunity to work on their skills through our activities
- 20+ students had the experience to see a different reality through their interactions with kids who have no access to quality education or education at all
- 100+ people participated in Al Aire Libro. They shared their reader experience with other readers the just met

CHALLENGES FACED

Fundraising: it was almost impossible to find someone who could help us with all the materials we need.

Time: I started this project in my senior year, so I barely had time and it was really challenging to find someone who could help me with ALAS and all the places I needed to go for this initiative.

Approaching: getting people engaged was the most difficult thing of this process. At first I was alone; so I was just some kid who was trying to convince kids, teachers, adults and professionals that education is the only solution to overcome problems in Paraguay, and that reading was the key.

Sharing something so personal: I always started my pitch with the story of how reading changed my life, how was something I could hang on in tough times and how I'd love to share the same experience I had that changed me and the life that surrounds me.

LESSONS LEARNT

You don't need money to change someone's life. You just need to open yourself, give them a try, a smile and the most important thing, hope.
You can save time if you have more hands. At first I was afraid of leaving someone in charge of some reading groups I was leading. My excuse was that they didn't know how to do it. But I gave them the opportunity that one gives you, the opportunity to fail and learn. They failed as many times as I did, but they stood up any time soon because someone was trusting on them. Here I learned that a shared dream is the first step for change. I learned that leadership isn't about someone being bossy, but someone being a role model who gives opportunity to other ones to challenge themselves, fail, stand up and keep on making of their dreams their reality.
I learned that when the dream is shared - when is collective - the change already began.

COUNTRY

Paraguay

CITY

Luque

FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/AlasParaguay