THE AIM: To promote an appreciation and love of reading as a source of knowledge and entertainment by bringing literature to public spaces and in people’s daily activities.
“Creating a temptation to read, creating a habit.”
Q: What inspired you to start with this idea?
“A silent bus, it worried me! It doesn’t feel human to me.”
A: Suddenly I felt really bad and I thought this is not possible, because I’m from South America we are used to noise a little bit more. It if it feels dead, if an environment, a public space like that [bus] is silent…it feels weird to me. It’s difficult to explain but that was definitely the spark, not seeing people reading and sitting in silence, nobody talking to someone sitting next to them, even if you see that person every day because you take the same bus.”
“When you turn to people extraordinary things happen as well and if you feel isolated or lonely [talking to someone] could be an extraordinary experience, to be able to connect to someone else. That’s why this thing is important and why I keep pushing for this to happen. It might sound radical but it might save a life.”
Q: Tell us more about your newest exciting achievement?
So, congratulations! You’re a finalist in the NNZBA 2017? How did you apply for that?
A: “Thank you! Somebody who knew me contacted me and suggested that I applied ‘I said no, I thought it was too big for me!’ But she was insistent! I thought it would be a good exercise for me, the questions were very interesting, it forced me to think about what I was doing in a different way! I thought that was enough good experience to just apply. I never imagined I would be in the Finals. But this Guardian Angel thought I was good enough!”
You’re a finalist in the charity/NFP category?
A: “Yes, all the finalists for each category automatically are through for the People’s Choice Award. 50% public vote and 50% from judges. I mean I’d be so happy with the People’s Choice award, just being a finalist, I wasn’t expecting I’m so happy with it! But obviously it’s a great opportunity to get the project known further, that’s why I want to encourage people to vote!”
This is extremely exciting such a momentous achievement for such a young initiative. If you are interested go and Vote for The Commuting Book at the Network NZ Business Awards 2017. TCB has been nominated in the Excellence in Non-for-Profit or Charity category. Voting for the People's Choice open now and runs to the 25th September - Go to the website here and vote now!
Q: How has Ministry of Awesome helped you with your journey?
“Well, where to start? Because Ministry of Awesome has done a lot for me.”
A: “First, the moral support, constant encouragement when they always introduced me to new people they always say such wonderful things about the project, which is amazing PR. That’s free PR!”
“Then there’s the fact that they let me work here [Co-work at the Awesome HQ at 192 St. Asaph Street] which means that I can connect to other people. Have a place where I can meet people, work and network. Also, here we have a drop-off point for book donations, there’s a basket in the communal space so if someone wants to drop books off here they can.”
“Also through them I got my first newspaper interview, so that’s pretty big.” (Interview with Star.Kiwi.)
Q: In terms of events or programs hosted by Ministry of Awesome?
A: “Initially I went to one of Ministry of Awesome’s Activator Caffeine Adventure events in May of last year as well as participating in Chch Soup (facebook.com/CHCHSOUP) which was sponsored by Gap Filler and Ministry of Awesome. Then I did my first Coffee and Jam #175 presentation on 16th August 2016 (Read it here) and my second one was the 20th June this year (Coffee and Jam #212 recap here).”
It sounds like Ministry of Awesome has been instrumental in creating events where you’ve been able to get the word out! The opportunities to meet new people and get to know some important contacts, mentors even, who have been pivotal in getting TCB project going? That’s awesome!
“We can’t be in a society and live in our own bubbles. We have to connect to others and be able to feel comfortable with others around.”
“It builds community these kinds of projects and many others.”
Thank you so much Magda for being the 1st story in our Awesome Stories Series! Thanks for sharing your amazing journey of social enterprise with us, it’s been really inspiring hearing about how The Commuting Book a single idea has become such a success in a short amount of time. We wish you the best of luck from the Ministry of Awesome team at the Network New Zealand Business Awards 2017.
Go vote for the People’s Choice Award now!
Interviewed by: Imogen Loakman, Awesome Intern at Ministry of Awesome
Link to The Commuting Book social medias:
Magdalena Lorenzo, Project Coordinator
MOBILE: +64 27 7554900