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In June we reported that HiperBarrio had won the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica awards in the Digital Communities category and with it a 10, euro prize. The afternoon and evening had a faint light gray while the rain still soaked the streets. The fog stretched a mystique over the landscape of a city beautifully split in two by the banks and bridges of the Danube river. To our surprise, the first category to receive the award proved to be Digital Communities we were invited to go on stage to answer a short interview about HiperBarrio, our philosophy, goals, achievements and plans for the future.
Amazing moments. Words came out of our mouths and just a big applause made us realize that it was time to stop talking. Not much later the Golden Nica statuette was delivered to Gabriel Jaime under a strong ovation. Shocked and stunned by emotion we did not manage to thank anybody. I was also overwhelmed by the happy faces of the girls and boys of HiperBarrio-Ituango and reflected about this amazing journey and the challenges ahead: to expand the network to other locations and libraries and to become a formal institution with all the advantages and implied challenges.
An article in Equinoxio describes [es] it as a proud achievement for Colombians:. In an emotional moment, a video was presented to the audience at Ars Electronica that shows the achievements of the Hiperbarrio around La Loma, presenting an alternative living environment to young people in a sector that has characterized by violence from armed groups, unemployment and lack of opportunities.
After receiving the award Professor Ramirez said that it is not only a recognition of the work, but also a commitment to reach other communities which are isolated by poverty and violence. Gabriel Jaime Vanegas, director of the Library La Loma, who joined the project of Professor Ramirez, highlights how libraries participating in Hiperbarrio have transcended its original role to become centers of meeting, exchange of experiences, solidarity and mutual support.