Building a Reading Community in a War Zone

By: Christian Vasquez  

In San Vicente del Caguán, one of the most affected areas by the war in Colombia, a couple converted a van into a mobile library - La Casita de los Sueños (The Little House of Dreams) - with which they visit remote villages, isolated by the war. In their visits, they offer reading and writing workshops, as well as talks about protecting the environment. Through this work, the library project aims at covering the cultural and educative gaps that affect communities marginalized by violence and enables spaces to create community around reading and writing. Beyond introducing this project to a larger audience, this paper responds to the following questions: What motivated them to undertake this project? What are the main challenges that they have faced in these eight years of work? Which are their more important achievements? What lessons have they learned that have allowed them to improve and continue their practice? This research provides further insights to comprehend and analyze how practices related to writing and reading work outside formal educational and academic contexts, especially in areas with complex social conditions.

Mobile library, Literacy, Reading promotion
Reading, Writing, Literacy, and Learning
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Christian Vasquez

Graduate Student, Spanish and Portuguese, Northwestern University, United States
United States