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Velia Vidal, born in Chocó, teaches reading habits to children in her country. Photo: Instagram
Velia Vidal, born in Chocó, teaches reading habits to children in her country. Photo: Instagram

Colombian storyteller, among the 100 most influential in the world

She is Velia Vidal, designated by the BBC, which described her as a "storyteller and promoter of the culture of the Colombian Chocó".

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Vidal was born in the department of Chocó, in the Colombian Pacific. All her life she has dedicated herself to narrating Afro traditions. 

With her work 'Aguas de Estuario', she became the first winner of the Creation Scholarship for Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal and Palenquero authors. 

She also received an honorable mention for her certification in Afro-Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

In its publication, the BBC stated that "Velia Vidal is a lover of shared readings. She is the founder and director of Motete, an organization that promotes reading and literacy, as well as the unique culture of Chocó. She also organizes the Chocó Reading and Writing Festival, seeing literature as a tool to fight inequality and racism in one of Colombia's most disadvantaged regions".

 

The British media also recalled that Vidal started his organization 'Motete' with a basket full of books and tangerines, which he took every Sunday to tour the popular neighborhoods of Quibdó, capital of Chocó.

"The reception was impressive, her illnesses diminished and those interested in helping her began to arrive. Among them was Virgilio Barco Isakson, an economist dedicated to finding underfunded ventures," reports the BBC.

Barco said that Vidal "is transforming people's lives, opening their minds, in neighborhoods of enormous social exclusion". Later, Motete received funding from several companies and became one of the most important cultural foundations in the Colombian Pacific.

Velia Vidal's goal in Chocó is to promote reading and the right to culture with her 'Selva de letras' initiative, a program to help bridge the gaps, train teachers and create a cultural agenda, with the incentive of meeting spaces.

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