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Jaqi Aru

An online community with the commitment to promote the native language of Aymara on the Internet. Through the use of translations and the creation of content using digital media, we want to contribute and enrich the content in our language in cyberspace.

About

logo-jaqi-aruIn 2007, two of Jaqi Aru’s project leaders, Ruben Hilare and Dora Romero took part in blogging workshops conducted by the organization Bolivian Voices in the city of El Alto. Here, Ruben and Dora were impressed how blogs and other citizen media allowed the freedom to publish and connect people regardless of geographic location or other social demographics. They soon started to write about their passion, which is languages and their native tongue of Aymara. Blogging bilingually, they began to make connections with others across the world.

For example, one comment on Dora’s blog came from abroad from an older native Aymara-speaker who wrote that he was very proud that a young Aymara student was so committed to keeping the language alive.

In the recent past, children of rural migrants to the city of El Alto resisted, or even were ashamed of speaking Aymara in public. Since the majority of the country’s business is conducted in Spanish and much of the media consumed by young people is in Spanish, many young people believed that speaking, writing, and reading in Aymara was unnecessary. Some parents even discouraged their children from speaking in Aymara thinking that it could be a hinderance to their educational development.

From their experiences at the Department of Languages at the Public University of El Alto, they knew that other young people who were proud of being bilingual and who wanted to see the language spread in the urban center of El Alto. They knew that many of their classmates shared the same interests, and would benefit and enjoy using these digital media tools to help them in their studies, their chosen profession, but more importantly to help them raise awareness and interest in maintaining this language for young people.