FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
In 2007, two of the early founders of the Jaqi Aru project, Rubén Hilare and Dora Romero took part in the blogging workshops conducted by Voces Bolivianas. The two of them started to blog in the Aymara language, which at the time, were the first blogs available in the Aymara language. They soon passed on the experience to their fellow Linguistics students, who also expressed an interest in learning more about these digital media tools. In September 2009, a group of nine Aymara students met and started the Aymara virtual community "Jaqi Aru" (which means language of the people in the Aymara language) based in the city of El Alto, Bolivia. Since then, more and more young people joined the team and have started to create their own digital content. Seeing what they created appear in the first results on Google Search was such a powerful realization that they have the power to choose how their community is represented to the world. Receiving notes of gratitude and congratulations from Aymaras living abroad was also a powerful source of motivation and realization of the power of the internet to promote and preserve their language and culture.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
Operating on an all-volunteer model, there have been 110 posts on the Jaqi Aru blog, 250 articles translated for Global Voices in Aymara, hundreds of photographs of Altiplano communities uploaded to Flickr, dozens of articles written for Wikipedia in Aymara, and daily interaction on the Facebook and Twitter accounts. Currently there are more than 250 Facebook fans, the majority of which found the community through virtual connections. This content has helped the visibility of the Jaqi Aru team reach more people, and as a result, we continue to receive invitations and requests for workshops and presentations in the use of these tools. It has also allowed us to grow and attract new members. We have an open-door policy that the general public is invited to attend our meetings and learn about these tools. We have about 40 active volunteer members, which has grown from the original nine members.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
The hope is that when the internet reaches rural Aymara communities that they will find a wealth of content available in their own language. The connections facilitated by the internet will also help young people regardless of their geographic location feel that it is important and possible to maintain their indigenous roots and language, and find a supportive virtual community. We hope that the Jaqi Aru project will continue to add members and new partners to help support our work. We hope that the Aymara language does not only become a niche community online, but be a regular part of mainstream media. In Bolivia, there are 3 native official languages. We hope to be a resource for the Quechua and Guaraní communities to also be able to be represented online.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
We will begin plans to consolidate into a registered non-profit organization in Bolivia, allowing us to seek external funding.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Begin to systematically grow through targeted outreach and strengthening of institutional partnerships