Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Summer, New Website!

Hey Everyone,

Just in case you came looking for us here, we've moved! Check out the link below to see our new website and learn about everything we will be doing this summer 2010.

 But since you are here already, we'll give you a quick overview of what we have been up to.

Over the past year we have been at work raising funds, developing the workshops, generating new ideas, and spreading the word. We are happy to report that we were able to obtain enough funding to sustain the project and not only continue but improve upon what we started in summer 2009. And, with money comes responsibility, so through months of deliberation and planning we have formed 4 new workshops that will build on the previous ones. They are Art, Story-Telling, Inquiry, and Leadership. We have also formed the groundwork for a Parent's Committee, Research Projects, Mini-Workshops, and a collaboration with Project Next Generation for an intercultural exchange.

Also, this year we will be welcoming two new Swarthmore students and one more from La Javeriana. Mariela Puentes '12 will be leading the Art Workshop this summer and Jovanna Hernandez '13 will direct Inquiry (a new workshop which explores the scientific method as a way of analyzing and resolving social problems). And, Natalia Jimenez Molano, a psychology student from La Javeriana, will join Alex in the Story-Telling workshop.

To learn more about these projects and people, check out the new website. And we'd love to hear from you.

un abrazo

Monday, August 3, 2009

Conciencia Social Blog/Website

By Deivid Rojas:

If you wish to learn a little more about our partnership with Conciencia Social/La Javeriana, here is the link for their blog. Enjoy

Si les gustaria aprender un poquito mas sobre nuestra relacion con Conciencia Social/La Javeriana, aqui esta el link para el nuevo blog de ellos. Disfrutelo.

Protesting the Displacement Crisis

By: Deivid Rojas

On Saturday July 18, 2009 the Taller de Paz team (from Swat and La Javeriana) attended a protest/rally on the displacement crisis in Colombia. The protest was successful on many levels.

1. Though millions of people did not show up to the protest (more like a thousand), for the people that did go it was a great sacrifice, a sacrifice they were willing to make in order to expose the injustice. Some had to skip a day of work, pay transportation costs (from money they don’t have), but more admiringly, most had to sacrifice their safety. For many displaced individuals, identifying as “displaced” can be extremely dangerous because even in Bogota—displaced people still run the risk of the military, drug lords, the guerrilla, the para-militaries, or even the government wanting to cause them harm. Thus, this rally was not only a sign of protest, but also a significant symbol of courage.

2. 2. The day picked to hold the march was very strategic. Two days later, July 20, is Colombia’s Independence Day. By having the protest just two days before, the displacement community challenged the notion of Colombia’s Independence. They showed Colombians and the world that in fact independence in Colombia is not for all. Not for the displaced community.

3. One of the biggest issues in the displacement crisis is the common apathy of many Colombians (especially those living in the urban areas). Since most of the displaced community come from rural areas many Colombians living in the cities seem unaffected by it. Though, for example, the displaced community has significantly grown in Bogota over the years (affecting schools, public spaces, population, etc), the attitude of the rolo has not changed. Most think that the situation is all under in control. Therefore, this rally was a (forced ) attempt for the displaced community to be seen and heard by the rolos. To become visible in the eyes of the unaffected. To become Colombians.

Throughout the march there were many chants and songs, here were my favorite ones:

-Abajo el Govierno de Uribe! Abajo! Abajo! Abajo!

(Down with Uribe’s Government)

- Quienes Somos? Desplazados. De donde vivimos? Colombia, Colombia, Colombia

(Who are we? Displaced people. Where do we live? Colombia, Colombia, Colombia)

- Hay estan, hay estan, los que roban la nacion

(There they are, there they are, those that rob the nation)—This was said every time we passed a government office, a food/clothes chain, a person in suit.

- Abajo Accion Social! Abajo, Abajo, Abajo

(Down with Accion Social! Down, Down, Down)—Accion Social is the president’s agency that deals with many social issues, and is the one that is mainly dealing with the displacement issue. After talking to many of the families that participated in Taller de Paz, talking to la Defensorial del Pueblo in Colombia, and by witnessing this protest, the conclusion is that Accion Social is a complete failure, lyers, and frauds.

- Que se cumpla la ley 387! Que se cumpla, que se cumpla, que se cumpla!

(Fulfill Law 387!, Fulfill, fulfill, fulfill)—Law 387 is law that was passed in 1997 especially to address the displacement crisis. Obviously, this law was just constructed with false promises. You can read more about it here.

In Spanish:

In English:

- Somos desplazados, no somos delinquentes!

(We are displaced, not delinquents)

- El pueblo, sin techo, exige sus derechos!

(The community, without a roof, demands their rights)

I leave with some footage from the protest.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Presentaciones finales del taller de fotografía


Hey everyone!! We just got back from a week-long adventure on the costa caribeña of Colombia, and now it’s back to work for us again. Fuimos al Parque Tayrona (one of Colombia’s national parks), Santa Marta (the coastal city that Carlos Vives is from) and finished up our foray in Cartagena de Indias (a city saturated with history – founded in the early 16th century, it was one of South America’s first major cities and served as an extraction point for all the gold that the Spanish took from Latin America). These are only superficial descriptions of the beautiful places that we’ve been - I’ll leave it up to Deivid to fill everyone in with the complete details.

What I’d like to accomplish with this blog entry is to showcase one of the final projects produced in Deivid and I’s Photography Workshop. For the final projects, we gave our students two options from which to choose: they could either create a photographic “retrato” of their working partner’s life, or they could choose an issue in their community or in broader Colombian society and explore it through conducting interviews. What was great about the colegio in which we were working is that it happened to be in a very central location: close to the city hall of Suba, the Suba police station, and the Suba fire station. Additionally, the streets around the colegio were always bustling with people. This provided a great opportunity for the students that chose to conduct interviews. Deivid and I arranged for them to interview district councilmen at the city hall, the police chief, and people they met out on the street about the issues that they chose to explore.

In the taller de artes, our peer Camila had been facilitating discussions about community issues and the possibilities for change and for our final projects in fotografía many of the kids decided to further explore the issues that had been brought up in artes. Among the Topics generated by the kids for the final projects were the garbage disposal and contamination, homelessness, drug addiction, sexual abuse, and kidnapping.

Our goal for this project was for the kids to apply all the skills they’d learned throughout the Taller de fotografía, but more importantly for those skills to be a medium through which the kids could communicate with influential community leaders as equals. What resulted was just that. In the presentation below made by three of our students, Yeimy, Margarita, and Sonia, you can observe how through the process of conducting interviews they gained a sense of confidence in themselves and approached their adult interview subjects as equals. This can be observed in the way they carry themselves during the interviews, from questioning the answers provided by Edil (district councilwoman) Ana Cristina regarding homelessness, to the back and forth with the police chief about drug addiction.

We thought that this experience was really valuable for the kids for a couple reasons. One, it provided them with access to spaces and people that they wouldn’t normally have been able to access or hadn’t previously been interested in exploring. Two, we feel that the projects demonstrated to the kids what they are capable of achieving and that they have the power to voice their opinions and question authority figures. Both these issues, access and empowerment, were a recurring theme throughout the Taller de Paz; the final projects served to reinforce what had already been brought up in all of the talleres.

The progress the kids made in the three weeks of our taller was very impressive. The first week they barely knew how to use the cameras, and by the third week the cameras were being used to conduct projects like the one below. Before finishing I would like to note one more thing: our students only had four class periods to complete these projects. This means four hours to choose a topic, discuss it, create questions, conduct the interviews, and edit the presentations (using Imovie for the first time!). For this reason the presentations were a little basic in regards to editing but we still felt that what was produced was very cool and a testament to the kids creativity, energy and initiative. I would just ask that you keep in mind the time restraints while watching.

So without further ado, I present to you “Temas problematicas de Colombia” by Yeimy Contreras, Sonia Patiño, y Margarita Gutierrez (the subtitles were added by me).

Monday, July 20, 2009

La Graduación

Today was our last day with all of the kids. We held the graduation ceremony at the colegio Maximino. We started off with a small refregerio (snack) then presented each of the Talleres, then presented each kid with their diploma and a regalito (school supplies, TdP polo shirt, and a bag compliments of La Riviera Bags), and ended with a slideshow of the whole project.

Below are some of the videos we showed

Presentacion Final de Ingles y Lit from Alex Frye on Vimeo.

Fotografía from Alex Frye on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Movie Night

We talked with some of the students who will be working with us in the next few weeks on digital stories and they told us that they have never been to the movies. Due to the hard work that they have put in already, the projects that they will have to do, and that everyone should have the opportunity to go to the movies, we have decided to try to take them.

A movie ticket costs about 6 mil pesos or $3 US. Plus we are thinking we should probably buy everyone some popcorn to complete the experience so we need about $40. This is a great opportunity to donate just a few dollars (ie sponsor a kid's ticket/popcorn bag) and bring what for many of us is an 'everyday' activity to the TdP kids who have never gone.

Thank you for your support so far and for visiting our blog.

Visual Podcast

Untitled from Alex Frye on Vimeo.