SDG 4 quality education

4.5 Eliminate all discrimination in education.
4.6 Universal literacy and numeracy.
4.7 Education for sustainable development and global citizenship.

At a recent presentation to the Rotary Club of Strathroy, Rita Moker, of the Rural Libraries Network of Cajamarca, said these words: “It takes many hands and many hearts to do this work.”

She was referring to the 400 or so volunteer librarians who take care of the books distributed to them by the Rural Libraries Network, who loan them to members of their communities and lead reading circles. She was also referring to the Network’s volunteer regional coordinators, who deliver the books to the librarians, and to the team in Cajamarca, also volunteers, who edit and design the books.

But Rita was not just talking about the people in Peru who make this work possible. She was talking about the Rotary Club of Strathroy, whose members wanted to know more about the libraries and pooled donations from their membership and supporters to help this work continue. And she was talking about you.

This is the essence of solidarity—working together, each contibuting in the ways we best can. Many hands. Many hearts.

The Rural Libraries Network works to advance Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education. One of their most important publications is the Enciclopedia Campesina, is a series of 20 books containing Indigenous knowledge and traditions from this region in the northern Andes. The books preserve, share and value this cultural and communal heritage, which for centuries has been the target of racism, colonialism and neglect. Heart-Links is currently funding a revised edition of the encylclopedia that includes new stories and knowledge drawn from communities that have joined the network since the last edition was published with Heart-Links’ help almost 20 years ago.

As community coordinator Sergio Juamán pointed out during the presentation to Strathroy Rotary, this project is about more than reading. “It’s about why we read,” he said. “We read to foster solidarity, with the people and the world around us.” For the Rural Libraries Network, reading is another way of building community.