Crear Vale la Pena: Kiel learns from Buenos Aires

February 2006 -

‘All you need to achieve the impossible is time.’ This is the motto of Argentina’s Crear Vale la Pena organisation in its struggle against poverty and social isolation in the shanty towns of Buenos Aires.
Crear has worked since 1993 with young people from the poverty districts in Buenos Aires to improve their future by means of art and cultural projects.

In various neighbourhood centres the young people can follow workshops and professional training programmes in the areas of dance, music and theatre. Crear’s approach is so successful that it did not go unnoticed in Europe. An exchange programme has been established with the German city of Kiel titled Crear Valela Pena in Kiel – learning from the South.

Crear Vale La pena

Crear Vale la Pena performance

According to Anja Potthoff, project manager in Kiel, what is special about Crear is how it approaches young people. ‘They take not only art but also the young people they are working with very seriously. Crear does not really assess what we can do for these young people, but especially what they can do for us. This creates self-esteem, respect and a better perspective of the future. We in the North can learn much from that.’

Now Kiel is working with young people from poverty districts to establish a cultural centre according to the Crear method. In the North, art, culture and working with youths are often separate. By contrast, Crear works in close consultation with the various organisations, enabling them to offer youths more. The results are amazing. Potthoff: ‘We in the North should take a view of things that is less structured.’

People from Kiel will soon be traveling to Buenos Aires for on-site training. In the fall, young people from Crear will come to Kiel to work with them on an artistic production. Initially the exchange will last three years, but the future is already being considered. Potthoff believes this is an important step on the road to a dialogue of equals between North and South. ‘First we must admit that we can learn from them and are willing to do so, and then we can learn from each other.’