Catalina Restrepo Awarded Miss Talent Medellín Award

HiperBarrio was among the first five citizen media projects awarded a Rising Voices microgrant back in July 2007. The success of HiperBarrio over the past two years has been the fruit of endless hours of dedication by many young Colombians who pushed the project forward on their own initiative. One of the most dedicated young leaders since day one has been Catalina Restrepo who represented HiperBarrio at last year's Global Voices Summit.

At the encouragement of HiperBarrio's co-founders Gabriel Vanegas and Álvaro Ramírez, Catalina registered in this year's “Talented Women” competition organized by the municipality of Medellín. As Catalina explained on her blog, she registered for the competition in order to spread more awareness about HiperBarrio:

El viernes 3 de Julio decidí presentarme al concurso “Mujeres talento” de la Alcaldía de Medellín, por sugerencia de Ángela Álvarez y Gabriel. Me presenté sin mayores pretensiones, con el interés de que el proyecto (mi proyecto, nuestro proyecto), quedara con su nombre de “Hiperbarrio” en la historia de aquella iniciativa de la Administración pública. Llené y organizé la papelería pertinente en medio de una “carreras” que duraron de seis de la mañana a dos de la tarde, me dirigí a trabajar a la biblioteca de la Universidad, y luego viajé a Bogotá dando el asunto como terminado.

On Friday July 3, at the suggestion of Ángela Álvarez y Gabriel, I decided to register for the “Talented Women” competition of the municipality of Medellín. I registered with aim that this project (my project, our project) called “HiperBarrio” would stay in the history of a government initiative. I organized and filled out all the pertinent paperwork in the middle of a whirlwind that lasted from six in the morning until two in the afternoon. I went to work at the university library and then traveled to Bogotá [for Campus Party] with the task finished.

Describing Catalina as a “brilliant blogger who writes about her life on Things from the Soul,” HiperBarrio's founder, professor Álvaro Ramírez noted on his blog that Catalina was selected as one of seven nominees.

Then on July 22 Catalina's many supporters learned on Twitter that she won the “Mujeres Talento” award:

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Congratulations immediately poured in from Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela, New York, Barranquilla, Brussels, and Bogotá.


Catalina receiving the “Mujeres Talento” award with Medellín mayor Alonso Salazar.

Congratulations, in the form of affectionate blog posts, were also quick to come from Catalina's friends and colleagues in the HiperBarrio project. Carmen, in a post titled “And the winner is …”, writes:

“La Mujer Talento en la categoría de Desarrollo Social es… Catalina Restrepo”. Esta frase nunca se nos olvidará, porque esa Catalina es nuestra Cata, la mujer íntegra, entregada y sensibilizada con una comunidad que quizás no alcanza ahora a dimensionar la grandeza de esta mujer. Nuestra tarea como grupo no es solo la de recuperar la memoria histórica de nuestra vereda, también es hacer historia y el martes 21 de julio de 2009, Catalina comenzó a formar parte de esa historia futura, esa historia que sin duda, trascenderá de generación en generación.

Miss Talent in the category of social development is … Catalina Restrepo.” This phrase I will not forget, because that Catalina is our Cata, the dedicated and virtuous person who was brought up in a community that perhaps is not able to encompass the greatness of this woman. Our task as a group is not just to recuperate the historic memory of our community; it is also to make history and on Tuesday July 21, 2009 Catalina began forming part of that future history, that history that will undoubtedly transcend from generation to generation.

Coronel Murión” also penned his congratulations to Catalina on their group blog, and posted several photos from the event.


Catalina Urguijo and Catalina Restrepo

In Spanish the word tocaya refers to someone who shares your same name. Catalina Urquijo Tejada, another dedicated leader of the project describes the moment when Catalina was awarded the prize in a post titled “Congratulations to a tocaya“:

Cuando dieron la mención de honor y cati no estaba allí, sentí que era porque se había quedado “con el premio mayor”, y así fue, luego de unos minutos de intriga el nombre de CATALINA RESTREPO fue dicho, el grito de júbilo de todos los que la acompañamos fue tan emocionante que algunos quedaron con secuelas en su voz, el rostro de esta gran amiga y confidente se veía bastante emocionado, tanta fue la emoción que el alcalde se contagió y la alzó en sus brazos …

When they named the honorable mention and it wasn't Catalina I felt that she must have won “the big prize”, and so it was. After a few minutes of intrigue they called the name “Catalina Restrepo” and the shouts of joy from all who accompanied her were so great that some ended up with sore throats. The expression on the face of this great friend was both confident and quite excited. The excitement was so contagious that the mayor took her into his arms …

Congratulations Catalina!

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