Harnessing the power of books and words to support projects © UNOMS

La Huella – Solidarity Bookshop 
An internal initiative that re-homes books whilst contributing to charity projects around the world
1 Mar 2024

For more than 25 years, WTO staff have supported projects in favour of underprivileged children thanks to the bookshop created by the solidarity group ‘La Huella.’ The bookshop currently contains about a thousand books on a wide range of subjects and in many languages.

What are the origins of ‘La Huella’?

This group was born out of the first solidarity project promoted by a former staff member, which consisted in supporting the institution ‘La Huella’ located near Montevideo, Uruguay. This is a ‘home’ that takes in children and adolescents who, for various reasons, cannot be legally adopted. Our team had collaborated with ‘La Huella’ for 15 years, and subsequently decided to turn to new projects.

How does the bookshop operate?

Our collection includes novels, children’s books, books on art, science, history and technology, comics, dictionaries and language learning manuals, books on personal growth, travel guides, and much more. The collection is expanded by book donations from anybody wishing to contribute to the project. Our group regularly reviews the collection to ensure that only books that are in good condition are kept and to remove, by donating them to other causes, those that are repetitive or have little chance of being sold.

The books are organized by subject and language. On the shelf at the right of the entrance, you will find the ‘latest arrivals’, which are swapped as new books are donated. On the front wall, on the right hand side, there is a small money box where visitors who want to take a book can give their donation according to the price guide that appears in various parts of the bookshop (only indicative).

What project is ‘La Huella’ currently supporting?

For the last couple of years, La Huella has been contributing to the schooling of children in Senegal. In collaboration with Palabras+, we have supported the first two years of kindergarten for 13 children in different schools throughout the country. These children are former residents of the nursery home Pouponnière Cité de l’Emmanuel in Nianing, with which Palabras+ has had a long history of collaboration. The former director of the Pouponnière and manager of the project in Senegal is the focal point with the schools and keeps us informed of the pupils’ progress.

La Huella, a solidarity project near Montevideo, Uruguay © La Huella

How can staff contribute?

The bookshop is located within WTO premises, opposite the Villa Rappard, behind the Council Room. UN staff with a valid badge can access the WTO premises and visit the bookshop, which is open every weekday from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

There are many ways to show support:

• Visiting the bookshop and buying books (suggestions for donations available in the library!);

• Making a financial donation (please contact us for further details);

• Donating books (just drop them at the bookshop and we will take care of the rest!);

• Helping with book sales (email us and we will keep you posted!);

• Being part of our team!

Do you know of other charitable projects that ‘La Huella’ could support in the future? Suggest other non-profit initiatives! 


* Alba Pérez Barrera is a Spanish Translator at WTO.
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