Thank You/Ruben Hilare-Quispe

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Ruben Hilare-Quispe

We create Wikipedia on pen and paper, because that’s what it takes to keep our language alive and on the Internet.

I’m part of a virtual community called Jaqi-Aru; our passion is preserving the Aymaran language. The Internet provides an amazing tool: Aymaran Wikipedia. So we’re helping build it.

We’re all volunteers, and none of us have Internet access at home. Instead, we go to Internet cafes. There, we print out Wikipedia entries in English and Spanish. We take the pages home, translate the content into Aymaran, and return to the cafe to upload the new work to Wikipedia.

It might sound like a funny way to use such a revolutionary technology, but we don’t mind — preserving Aymaran on Wikipedia is a work of love.

Aymaran is a native language spoken by more than 5 million people across South America. But in the recent past, Aymara people faced discrimination. Their language wasn’t taught in schools, and they couldn’t attend universities. Parents taught their children Spanish, instead.

My mother, who is almost eighty, still remembers those times — and how difficult it was to learn in her own language. Today, it’s amazing for her to see her beloved language on the Internet. She’s proud of the work I’m doing on Wikipedia... and so am I.

There are more than six thousand linguistic communities across the world; most of them are small yet resilient groups like my own. Wikipedia helps us preserve the languages we love for future generations.

Thank you for your donations and your support,

— Ruben Hilare-Quispe

Ruben Hilare-Quispe lives in El Alto, an urban center near La Paz, Bolivia. He began learning English when he got his first job, working at the airport in La Paz. He went on to study linguistics, and now works as a professional translator.

Image Attribution: Ruben Hilare-Quispe by Matthew Roth, under CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, from Wikimedia Commons.

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