Celebrate National Book Month with Books for Change!

It’s that time of year again! In honor of National Book Month, Few for Change will be collecting donations for books to give to our scholarship recipients and their families during our annual trip to the Ngäbe Buglé Comarca for the scholarship ceremony.

In preparation for the season ahead, we want to share some facts about literacy, education and poverty in Panama.

According to the human rights organization Social Watch by 2009 the World Bank, United Nations and International Monetary Fund were all in agreement that Panama “has the highest per capita income in Central America” (Rojas 2012). Despite this, data from the Economic and Finance Ministry indicate that an overwhelming 96.3 percent of rural indigenous Panamanians were living at or below the poverty line (Ministerio de Economía y Finanza, Panama 2008). In Panama that is less than 100 US dollars per month (Ministerio de Economía y Finanza, Panama 2008). Education and poverty have an inverse relationship. As education levels increase, rates of poverty decrease. One study in Pakistan found that additional years of schooling increase wages by 5 percent for secondary education and by over 8 percent for higher education (Awan et al., 2011). This is precisely why Few for Change raises money to support the cost of attending school!

So how does this all relate to reading and literacy and you?

According to the National Reading Research Center (NRRC), both the ability to read and the motivation to do so are elements that reinforce each other (1997). Literacy growth doesn’t just take place in school; home environments that promote reading will help students to remain engaged in class (NRRC, 1997). It is precisely for these reasons that last year we piloted our first Books for Change book giveaway at our 2018 scholarship ceremony. The immediate response to the influx of books from scholars and families alike far exceeded our expectations. Read more about the experience in our Books for Change blog post from May 2018.

Since last year was such a success, we are making a collaborative effort once again to grow the lending library of our scholarship recipients and give them more opportunities to read outside the classroom. To make this easy, we put together a list of books in Spanish that you can donate and we will deliver at the next scholarship ceremony. Follow the link below to add to the collection and share your love of reading with a student in Panama:



Awan, Masood Sarwar, Nouman Malik, Haroon Sarwar & Muhammad Waqas. 2011. “Impact of education on poverty reduction.” International Journal of Academic Research 3, no. 1: pp. 659-654.

Baumann, James F. & Ann M. Duffy. 1997. “Engaged Reading for Pleasure and Learning: A Report from the National Reading Research Center.” The National Reading Research Center. Athens, GA.

Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas de Panama. Encuesta Niveles de Vida. Panama, Panama City: 2008.

Rojas M. Cecilia. 2012. “Economic Growth is Not Enough.” Social Watch. http://www.socialwatch.org/node/14015#_ftn3