Empowerment through theatre and community

Our partner organisation Iniciativa Colibrí works in a neighbourhood centre in Estelí, a town in the north of Nicaragua. There, children and young people can attend theatre classes and there is a small library with books and games.

Photo: Iniciativa Colibrí

Empowerment through theatre and community

Our partner organisation Iniciativa Colibrí works in a neighbourhood centre in Estelí, a town in the north of Nicaragua. There, children and young people can attend theatre classes and there is a small library with books and games. For women, there are courses in sewing and repairing motorbikes. The aim is to strengthen the children and women in their skills and self-confidence and to create a place where they can develop. 

The children and young people visit the centre of Iniciativa Colibrí in their free time as a supplement to school. School lessons only take place either in the morning or in the afternoon. Consequently, many children are left on their own for half a day because their parents have to work. In the neighbourhood streets, however, the children are confronted with drug problems and other dangers. The situation of the families is not easy. Nicaragua has massive economic problems and high emigration which has become a problem and has increased greatly in recent years due to the socio-political situation. 

In this situation, the project works with the transformative power of the theatre: through acting, the children and young people get to know themselves and they learn how to deal constructively with their emotions and with the challenges in their lives. Through acting they develop their imagination, which opens their eyes to different perspectives and possibilities in life. Through performances in the city and in different locations around the country, new realities open up for the young people and their faith in themselves grows. 

Maria Jesus Centeno founded the Iniciativa Colibrí ten years ago together with her then teenage niece. She still runs it today with a small team and a lot of volunteeers. Strong roots in the neighbourhood and the great voluntary commitment of the young people, parents and neighbours characterise this small but strong project. 

María Jesús Centeno Tercero

Founder and Project Coordinator, Nicaragua

„I founded the project Iniciativa Colibrí in January 2012 to give the children and young people of my neighborhood, Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the opportunity to exercise their rights to participation, self- expression, recreation and exploration of their creative ideas. The main method of achieving this is the theatre, through which they get to know their own emotions. Over time, we also offered courses in sewing and motorbike repair for adult women. In the process, the personal development sessions have become our trademark. Later, we came up with the idea of establishing a community library for children who love to come here and learn things through play. This is Colibrí, a refuge where we can recharge our batteries when the days outside are grey and hopeless.“

Circus as an alternative for socially vulnerable children

Besides circus trainings in various districts VIDA NUEVA also organises public performances to motivate the children and young adults to participate regularly. One condition for participating in the circus project is a regular school attendance. The project therefore also provides educational work and gives the children and youths future prospects. The circus creates a social community and a safe space where they can spend their free time in a meaningful, positive and healthy way.

Circus as an alternative for socially vulnerable children

Circus as an alternative for socially vulnerable children

The circus project CIRCO FANTAZZTICO run by our partner organisation VIDA NUEVA offers children and youths coming from poor districts of San Isidro, Costa Rica, an alternative to gang crime and gives them a new perspective in a difficult social environment

Besides circus trainings in various districts VIDA NUEVA also organises public performances to motivate the children and young adults to participate regularly. One condition for participating in the circus project is a regular school attendance. The project therefore also provides educational work and gives the children and youths future prospects. The circus creates a social community and a safe space where they can spend their free time in a meaningful, positive and healthy way.

The experience of the previous years has shown that the artistic project of VIDA NUEVA provides an opportunity to the children and youths to improve their physical abilities and their social competence. Thereby they gain self-confidence and develop independence as well as team spirit.

Through their social preventive and artistic achievements CIRCO FANTAZZTICO has attained national and international recognition, which gives the artists the opportunity to show their skills at festivals and tours outside of Costa Rica. So far they have been to Switzerland five times. This international success is a high motivation for all the children and youths that have found an alternative to criminalisation in the CIRCO FANTAZZTICO.

Carolina Gil

Director Circo Fantazztico, Costa Rica

“Circo Fantazztico is a dynamic social project. It promotes learning and self-knowledge among the participants and gives them the opportunity to experiment with their own abilities and develop in different areas of life. The circus is also a safe and free space. A refuge from life’s adversities and a place of joy, resilience and nourishment for the soul. Every circus experience is a treasure for every person, whether as a participant, trainer or spectator. For me, social circus is a pedagogy and a means of socio-cultural intervention, innovative and revolutionary.”

Photo report

Support for indigenous students in the city

The number of young indigenous people that leave their families to pursue their studies in the city of Puerto Maldonado has constantly risen during the last couple of years. For them and for their families this provides an opportunity to graduate and to be able to live a better life. However, the rate of students dropping out of college has increased significantly.

Support for indigenous students in the city

Support for indigenous students in the city

More and more young people from indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon region move to Puerto Maldonado for a higher education. Once arrived in the city, many of them face existential problems. Our partner organization FENAMAD supports these young people in their everyday life so that they are able to finish their studies.

The number of young indigenous people that leave their families to pursue their studies in the city of Puerto Maldonado has constantly risen during the last couple of years. For them and for their families this provides an opportunity to graduate and to be able to live a better life. However, the rate of students dropping out of college has increased significantly. Most of the indigenous families don’t have stable incomes and are poor. In consequence, many students face poor living conditions, they lack a healthy diet and the support and orientation that they would need to pass the exams. In addition, the discrimination of indigenous people and social problems such as crime, prostitution and a lack of leisure opportunities are substantial.

The student residence, which was renovated by FENAMAD together with the young people, offers the students a sheltered space where they can live and learn. A psychologist looks after them individually and supports them in strengthening their self-confidence and in developing plans for their future. They also receive extra tuition and can attend artistic workshops. With the support of this project we do also want to counter the following problem faced by our partner organization FENAMAD: International Organizations are clearly prioritizing projects for the protection of the rain forest and projects for the defense of the rights of indigenous people.  These projects are, without a doubt, very important. However, problems of indigenous people in the urban environment do barely gain attention by international organizations and it is very difficult for FENAMAD to find financial resources for such projects. EcoSolidar decided to support this project because it responds to an urgent need expressed by the affected population that has been ignored so far.

Julio Cusurichi

President von FENAMAD, Peru

„The main objective of FENAMAD is the defense of the rights of indigenous people to self-determination, territory and cultural identity. For us it is a priority to include the young indigenous people of our communities in our activities since its them who inherit our history and on whom the future of our peoples depends.”

Photo report

“Las Pioneras” for a better life

In the hope of a better life and prospects for the future, thousands of people from all parts of Peru move to the capital Lima. Due to massive immigration and the uncontrolled construction of settlements, a second city has literally emerged around Lima in recent decades.

“Las Pioneras” for a better life

Our partner organisation IDEMNNA (Instituto de Desarrollo “Maria Elena Moyano”) works in Peru in a suburb of the capital Lima, where migrant families from different parts of the country live. The aim of the project is to holistically improve the living conditions of women and their children. The focus is on the personal development of the women and their independence is to be promoted by setting up their own small businesses.

In the hope of a better life and prospects for the future, thousands of people from all parts of Peru move to the capital Lima. Due to massive immigration and the uncontrolled construction of settlements, a second city has literally emerged around Lima in recent decades. Our partner organisation IDEMNNA works in the community “Villa El Sol” in Jicamarca, which is located in the eastern region of Lima and where migrant families from different regions of Peru live. The living conditions here are extremely precarious: the basic supply – water, sewage, electricity, health, green areas – is lacking. Violence, alcohol, drugs and land trade cause massive problems. Most families live in abject poverty. Many women are single mothers and the majority of them have experienced psychological or physical violence.

Our partner organisation IDEMNNA works here with women and their children. The aim of the project is to improve the coexistence in the families, to support the women in their personal development and independence and to strengthen solidarity in the neighbourhood. At IDEMNNA the women find a safe place where they can exchange their experiences of violence and educational problems. This exchange among the women is an important principle. The women who are supported by IDEMNNA founded a group and gave themselves the name “Las Pioneras” – pioneers. They receive psychosocial counselling and practical tips for self-help. At the same time, the aim is to support the women in their financial independence, by developing their own business ideas and with small loans as start-up aid. In addition to working with local women, IDEMNNA consistently seeks cooperation with the responsible authorities and public authorities, which is not easy to achieve in this context.

The project started in 2017 with two employees who started the project voluntarily and with a lot of initiative and commitment. In 2018 EcoSolidar initially supported a pilot project to empower women. The committed start of the small organisation convinced us: IDEMNNA performs holistic work “from below” and is oriented towards women’s resources.

Sandra Tabita Lozano Rodriguez

Project Coordinator, IDEMNNA, Peru

“Our aim is for women, children and young people to be able to strengthen and develop their human and entrepreneurial skills under dignified conditions. To this end, we create and promote space for self-help. We want to contribute to the construction of a just, solidarity-based, non-violent and healthy society in coexistence with its environment”.

Photo Reports

Bilingual Radio: Indigenous raise their Voices

Children produce bilingual and intercultural radio programmes and thereby are actively included in the school lessons, and have the opportunity to engage with indigenous knowledge and culture. The radio project facilitates the intercultural and bilingual approach for the teachers.

Radio Indigene Peru

Bilingual Radio: Indigenous raise their Voices

For many centuries the indigenous people in Peru have been oppressed. This oppression still persists today, especially in education and in the media. This is where the radio project of PUKLLASUNCHIS comes into play.

Children produce bilingual and intercultural radio programmes and thereby are actively included in the school lessons, and have the opportunity to engage with indigenous knowledge and culture. The radio project facilitates the intercultural and bilingual approach for the teachers. The children’s self-confidence is increased and they strengthen their native language and engage with their cultural background. In the sub project, indigenous women are taught to be “communication leaders” and produce multilingual and intercultural radio programmes.

The radio programmes are broadcasted on local and regional radios and give the children, women and indigenous communities a voice in the media. The project provides a key to equality in the education system and makes the voices of the women and the indigenous knowledge heard. The radio programmes are collected by PUKLLASUNCHIS and applied by educational institutes as intercultural teaching material. The project supports a democratisation process that is essential for the Peruvian society.

Christine Appenzeller

Director PUKLLASUNCHIS, Peru

„Since 1980 Pukllasunchis has cultivated human values, encouraged the equality of all human beings and promoted diversity as an enrichment for everybody.“

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