“We get to the children with joy, and the impact is visible in how they have changed, in how they have improved their marks at school”
How were these children before?
Shy, introverted, also very vulnerable. But we saw them change. When they watch a movie, for example, they are now more critical; they write poetry, they unleash their creativity. Little by little, they learn to love themselves, to reinforce their self-esteem...
You are forming leaders.
Leaders that will be better citizens. We do this so that later on they can use what they have learned in their personal and professional development, and so that they make a commitment to their neighbourhood, their school, their country.
As Lis pointed out in another interview, “An informed person is not fooled by politicians”.
Yes. Developing knowledge is crucial to claim our rights, to have sensitivity, to approach beauty through art and to be aware.
Why did you choose Don Quixote? Because he is a dreamer?
Because he is a dreamer, yes, a man with a great sense of humour, righteous, generous, loyal. There are many Quixotes in Northern Lima! And there are also many Sanchos, because it was him who brought the dreamer back down to Earth. Many people underestimate Sancho, but he gives Don Quixote balance, and that, too, is something that we want children to learn.
This proposal was about to fail more than once. Today it is not only still standing, but it is stronger than ever. How do you explain it?
First, because we use a character with whom the whole community has identified: Don Quixote. We have placed him in the collective imaginary with all his values and children try to emulate him. Second, because we not only focus on literature, but we have opened our spectrum to cinema, theatre, artistic gymnastics... Why? Because children need artistic, cultural education.
As a consequence, these children must be changing their homes.
Definitely. They are even encouraging their parents to come to the library, to the movies, to see them when we have a recital of poetry or when we are visited by a writer or a recognised character. Parents are now more committed.
Some have even been convinced their parents to turn their living rooms into reading spaces.
This is very important! We do not stay here, Lis and I, we go through the community and visit other neighbourhoods. What is more, thanks to a volunteering programme by the Bartolome de las Casas Institute, four university students lawyers, communicators, etc. visit the three reading clubs every Saturday. Each club is led by the children themselves and is made up of ten children.
What better evidence that having a dream is worth it!
And that, to achieve the development of the country, concrete is not enough! Because here, in Santa Rosa, we lack nothing: we have electricity, water, telephone, cable. However, culture had not developed in the way it should, and it is vital to become better people!
That is what you are here for.
Yes, to do our bit to help.