Argentina: More than 15 years ago, a wonderful initiative came to life in one of the suburbs of Buenos Aires, offering a creative afternoon care to children from disadvantaged families.
Some 11th-grade students from the Rudolf Steiner school in the district of Florida in Buenos Aires worked at one of the Comedores in San Fernando as part of their social-work internship. The Comedores are food distribution points, providing free food for children coming from poor families. The students' job was to look after the children during the long wait in line and in doing so they observed the chaos that broke out sometimes.
There, the idea developed that they needed to do something creative with the kids and they remembered the games and stories that they knew from their school days and just started. And suddenly, a project was born from the very perception of the needs of children.
Two of the former students, Natalia and Soledad, lead this project up to today. Many new people have joined the initiative. Today there are approximately 40 young people, students and former students of the upper grades of the various schools in Buenos Aires, who are committed to doing this kind of social work. On three afternoons a week and on Sundays they look after and care for kindergarten and school-age children. There is only one room, which is much too small for the up to 20 children who often appear, and therefore the playground has to be extended on to the streets. Also, the initiative offers activities such as drama, music, and photography for the young people who used to be the first children of the project.
However, each activity is a real effort, because each time the teachers have to go from house to house and pick up the kids individually and then return them. Otherwise, this is just forgotten about in the daily chaos. At the same time, the social workers also maintain contact with the parents and neighbors. Meanwhile, “Pachamama”, a gardening project, has become part of the initiative, offering young people to grow their own vegetables in the afternoon.
As a snack, there is no longer just juice and biscuits but a nutritious menu worked out with a nutritional physiologist. It is so popular, that mothers often ask for recipes. A social worker helps the families to get in touch with local services such as doctors, clinics, social workers or psychologists.
The big dream for CultivArte is to own a bigger space as soon as possible because the current rent is too high and furthermore, to begin with an own regular kindergarten.