Voces Bolivianas: From outreach efforts to a movement

Rising Voice grantee Voces Bolivianas had the honor to be featured in the We Media conference in Miami last month. Renata Avila describes the amazing work of Voces Bolivianas:

In the year of the preservation of Endangered Languages by UNESCO, it brings results as you can see now online indigenous languages as Aymara then translated into spanish, french, english or even japanese.

Cristina Quisbert had done an amazing job on her blog Bolivia Indigena. There you can see how bolivian people lives, their clothes, you can see a bolivian wedding, listen to traditional music that musicians are happy to share with the world, and also you can see how a blog can give a positive, different image of indigenous world reality.

Eduardo Ávila and Cristina Quisbert talked about their experiences as facilitator of and participants in Voces Bolivianas in We Media conference on 27th of February 2008. Jillian York live blogged the session. Some snippets:

Cristina at we media(Cristina presenting at We Media – Photo: David Sasaki)
Christina: “Native populations have traditionally been marginalized by the mass media. Normally, the native languages are used on the radio stations in the rural areas; if now there is a presence of indigenous peoples on TV it's limited time schedules – say, very early in the morning, and then the native language isn't used for the rest of the day. Many times, native peoples were studied and reflected by other peoples, not by ourselves…we are Indians ourselves, and now thanks to this project of Bolivian Voices, we now have this possibility of saying ‘We ourselves, we can tell what's happening because we are the ones who are familiar with our realities – we live it – we're there day by day, we go out into the communities and we're familiar with our reality and we can better reflect that reality – therefore this project is of the greatest importance.”

Cristina wrote in her own blog (esp) about her experience in We media.

Voces Bolivianas was also featured in a few popular media. Check out BBC Mundo (the Spanish version of the ‘BBC World’ radio) and also in La Nación news paper of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Meanwhile the participants of El Alto II and Santa Cruz I projects continued to produce great blog articles. Check out the featured posts in Voces Bolivianas English page.

Gabriel Zuleta Calderon Orbe writes about a Saturday with the Voces Boliviana instructors:

Once we had all gathered at the cyber-café, we gave our blogs one or two final touches, and then the instructors gave us the idea to take picture around our neighborhood. Most of us made the decision that the best place for our photo session would be La Ciudad de la Alegría (City of Joy), which is near the Hombres Nuevos (New Men) community.

On Tuesday, March 18 the closing program of El Alto II workshops were held and certificates distributed. In addition to sharing a meal with fellow participants, friends and family and other local bloggers, the Voces Bolivianas participants each said a few words to them and displayed their blogs on the overhead projector.

Cristina Quisbert writes (esp) about the closing ceremony:

VB closing“We started last year and one workshop was planned, but we have completed a second workshop of blogs in El Alto and a third workshop in Santa Cruz,” this was part of the speech that Eduardo Avila, director of Voices Bolivian gave during closure of the Bolivian Voices II.

We had pleasant moments during the closing ceremony. We got the chance to personally know several bloggers.

This is Voces Bolivianas taking steps in the path that has been set, “making our voices heard, our realities known by others”. (Machine translation)

Later in the month, the closing program for the Santa Cruz project will also take place.

Now the Voces Bolivianas project is looking forward to expand. Eduardo terms this a movement:

We’ve had a great run up to now with the project Voces Bolivianas. The interest in the project has been better than expected. The team that has made this all possible, Hugo, Mario, Dora and now Jessica and Enrique really are the motor of this project. For that reason, the time has come to look at other parts of Bolivia and see who would like to be a part of this movement. I say movement because that what it is, as it changes the way the internet is seen by all sectors of Bolivian society, not just those of us who have internet at home or may have grown up with it as a vital part of education.


1 comment

  • The movement is on its way to rule the world and share the knowledge but most of all the spirit!
    The work you are doing for the native culture is wonderful as well.
    Team Bolivia all the way long!

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