Emma James ’13, BiblioWorks, Bolivia

BiblioWorks, a nonprofit based in Sucre, Bolivia, builds libraries in the rural villages around Sucre. Over the summer, Emma James helped BiblioWorks write grants for funding and also volunteered in a small school where BiblioWorks had recently built a library.

“Most foreigners wouldn’t be satisfied sitting in the office; they want to be out in the field doing work,” James said. But she found it motivating “to go into an office everyday and focus on writing grants to help raise money for BiblioWorks.”

For the rest of the time, James worked at the school, Pampa Aceituno. She helped raise the students’ excitement about the library with several projects. For one, she had each students illustrate a page from Jack and the Beanstalk, and then had them grow their own “magic” beans in their classroom. She also crated a poster for the library with photos of the students attached with quotes by them about why they like to read. One student’s quote was, “The book is my best friend in the world.”

James also created a garden outside the school so students could have fresh vegetables at lunch. The school was located high on a hill, and everyday the students, if they couldn’t catch a ride, had to walk four miles there and back, which they did happily, James said. “The kids and the principal and the teachers were passionate about education,” she said.

James said she’d like to raise money here to send to the school so it can buy comfy furniture for its new library and entice students to curl up with a book.