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Former Miss America visits Quechua Literacy Project

Tara Dawn ChristensenTara Dawn Christensen, a champion for literacy in the United States has expanded her promotion of literacy internationally on a recent visit to South America. She visited national translators for the Quechua people in remote areas in the Peruvian Andes. The Quechua people struggle with literacy because most printed material is in Spanish. Until recently, very little literature could be found written in Quechua. SIL translation and literacy personnel have worked with the Quechua for more than 12 years to help in literature production for them. In cooperation with the people, SIL analyzes language and culture in order to promote literacy in a culturally appropriate manner. Tara Dawn, former Miss America 1997, stated, “It was awesome to watch the people crowd around the table where people could purchase stories written in their own language. They were so hungry to read.”

The issue of literacy touches Christensen personally. While growing up, she became aware of a family member who never learned to read. Because of this, Tara became a tutor at age 17. As Miss America, she used her position to promote literacy within the country. She continues work as an advocate for literacy across the United States and now the world.

After her experiences in Peru, Christensen said, “I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to see it firsthand so I could come back and do my part in worldwide literacy. No one can do it alone. It takes each of us helping in some way to provide literacy skills…to those who need it. Through literacy, we have the answer to unlock doors for people around the world.”