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News > Culture

Bolivia Builds Over 400 Libraries for Prisoners, Indigenous

  • A Bolivian woman learns to read from a book called

    A Bolivian woman learns to read from a book called "Yes I Can." | Photo: EFE

Published 21 July 2017

Construction of the libraries form part of a literacy campaign in Bolivia targeting historically-oppressed communities. 

The Bolivian government has created over 400 community libraries as part of a program called Bolivia Reads, a nationwide campaign promoting literacy in rural and urban areas across the country.

Bolivia Prepares Literacy Programs in 36 Indigenous Languages

The libraries are designated for prisoners, Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, campesinos and the elderly. 

“We are delivering 412 community libraries thanks to the efforts and support of society as a whole, the Armed Forces, Indigenous authorities, educational units and the general public who participated in the collection of books,” Minister of Education Roberto Aguilar said in a statement.

This year alone, 174,185 books have been collected throughout the country to fill the community libraries and provide basic training for citizens in areas that lack access to public books, a problem which the government is hoping to address, according to the official. 

The Bolivia Reads initiative is part of the National Literacy and Post-Literacy Program promoted by the Ministry of Education established in 2014.

Under the government of President Evo Morales, the country's first Indigenous president, illiteracy was reduced from 13.3 percent in 2001 to 2.9 percent in 2016, the lowest rate in the history of Bolivia.

“We are working and bringing education to everyone because education has no limits and that is why we reach young people, adults, elderly people, even those with disabilities,” Aguilar said.

Bolivia was declared free from illiteracy in 2008 by the United Nations.

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