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Sarah's Rural Libraries
~ Peru


We are delighted to share that WaterBridge Outreach has a new literacy project in South America! We are working with Sarah's Rural Library Fund who support the Bibliotecas Rurales of Cajamarca, Peru to help them in their mission to bring literacy and education to impoverished people of the Andes in Peru.

The Rural Libraries or Bibliotecas Rurales promote reading and equality in the indigenous communities of the high Andes and have be
en operating for over 50 years. It is run 
entirely by volunteers who work with isolated mountain communities living in adobe brick houses with no electricity, plumbing, heating or running water. The volunteers walk to villages throughout the mountains carrying books on their backs and exchanging books at libraries that are within people's homes and schools. There are 74,000 registered readers, 400 libraries and 40 co-ordinators in this wonderful system that provides books and makes a world of difference in the remote mountainous region.

The Rural Libraries have been responsible for publishing more than 200 different books on a variety of practical subjects like farming, weaving techniques, bee-keeping, and hat making, all to keep the local indigenous skills alive. Books are also used for schoolwork, read for pleasure, and are considered tools of empowerment. One of the most requested publications is the Peruvian constitution. This is used, along with other law books, to help the local farmers establish their legal rights as their land sits on the world's second biggest gold reserve which is being mined by a large international conglomerate with drastic environmental consequences.

The members of the Rural Library community are of all ages. Books are often read within the family which includes grandparents, parents, and children. The children become involved by first listening to stories, and borrow books as soon as they learn to read.   But the most beloved books are the transcribed traditional tales told by the elders. The younger generation cherish the stories and legends that are set in the mountains, proud of their heritage and happy to embrace the ongoing legacy of their Andean culture.    

Funds from WaterBridge Outreach will be used to purchase more books to help fill the libraries such as these ones at the homes of Quechuan librarian, José Isabel Ayay Valdez and Jacinto Aguilar Neira, coordinator of the Araqueda sector who buried his books in his field during the time of persecution in the 1990s to save them being destroyed.

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