Hi from the Tlalaná Team!
This year seems to be filled with surprises and good news. Along with our usual group with El Chante de Todos, Enchúlame la Bici, Zekuollaz, and other youth collectives our group has a new addition, a project full of life, rhythm and music. On the other hand, our urban agriculture youth collective project is now yielding its first harvest: our first flowers, fruits and vegetables are here! Blackberries, green beans, pumpkin flower, lettuce, tomato, epazote, garlic, lavender and more! Read on to know more about what we have been up to.
We are very happy that a new collective has joined us in our quest for enhancing our community’s development. DFBaila defines themselves as a collective that “promotes the culture of dancing in couples to integrate their community through space management”. We are working with them so they can develop their project that involves life-skills, the rehabilitation of public spaces and the development of communities. Soon you will be learning more about them through our updates on our work together or you can explore their Facebook page and check out this review on one of Mexico City’s blogs on cultural activities: Melí Meló, where they talk a little bit about their methodology and their projects to recover parks and community bonds throughout Mexico City.
El sabio pensil
This is the name of our patch, it means “The wise garden” and we are learning a lot from it. We are now developing this plot of land, that used to be where people threw their trash and that we initially cleaned up completely before planting, with the participation of 15 young men and women who are aware and passionate about organic food and sustainable development and that live and work around our headquarters. Through this project we seek to raise awareness on our consumer habits and our capabilities to break this trend in our daily lives. We, as young people, have a crucial role in this because we will not only keep applying this knowledge in years to come, but because by proving stereotypes wrong and overcoming other systemic and structural difficulties we can have a major impact on our communities. So far we have picked blackberries, lettuce, green beans, garlic, epazote, chive, green tomato, purple mustard, raddish, potato, coriander, lavender flower, parsley, fava beans, pumpkin flower, labiada and mint. We are looking forward to increasing our production and improving our irrigation system and water collection infrastructure.
With your help we can do this and more!
If you are interested on what we do don’t forget to check out and like our Facebook page (in spanish). We regularly update the information available on each of the collectives of the Tlalaná Network and other relevant information.
We couldn´t be happier with the results we achieved in 2014.
Our team has 8 new members and we have all started this year on our feet and working hard. How did this happen? For the fourth consecutive year we organized our Facilitator Workshop. This year we had 10 participants with different aspirations and expectations, all of which fed the activities with their own ideas, concerns and motivations. This exchange is unique, resulting in a very rich and educational experience for everyone. The result was that our team has 8 new members that have been training on their skills as facilitators. They are now ready to take on new collective projects. We will be working hard these coming months with our new members for community development.
What about our collectives?
Here are some examples of our work on the field.
DHS Guadalupe Peralta has kept their good spirit and their will to transform their community this year and they are now enjoying the results of their hard work. Their greenhouse project is now flourishing with a new water collection system, a water deposit and the painting, planting and selling of ornamental pots and plants.
Around 280 people (10 families, 150 neighbors, 3 local businesses) are being benefitted directly from these activities through the money produced, the abilities they are acquiring, the products they are selling and the organic vegetables they are producing. We calculate their total impact in 600 to 700 people within the community estimating this number from their immediate circle of influence, where they promote the use of organic technologies, showing how to be efficient in the use of water through rain-collection and leading through example the recycling of the materials they use regularly, with the potential to impact another 1000 of the city’s young people if the project has the support needed for next year.
Enchúlame la Bici has now moved to a new shop, the new place is bigger and better suited to fit the needs of the collective which is now expanding their operation to fit more people and have more capabilities for fixing and making bikes. The collective is using this opportunity to improve their managing skills and instate a system for running the shop and the community project. Things are moving and this collective is well in the way of becoming a full operation that empowers young people through self-employment, life skills and a project.
This year was the first of Enchúlame la Bici as a collective project and their numbers reflect how they’ve consolidated their operation. This year they’ve grown to have 30 clients per month. In average, 26 of those bicycles come in for minor repairs and regular check-ups, and 4 of them to be personalized with all kinds of colors, shapes and additions. With the new workshop we expect to duplicate those numbers by the end of the year, expanding our operation further in 2016.
Dkaya Ybaku, after operating as a community project run by volunteers, is starting to look at the project as a way of making a living while promoting an environmentally friendly cycle of consumption of PET. This project is run mainly by young women from Cuicatlán. Garbage in the natural areas in their town, part of a national park, is one of the main issues detected by the community. We are working together to involve the community in this process through talks, guided tours to the recycling plant, workshops and inviting new members to join, this year we have grown the team in 1 person.
To this day we have collected 1 ton of PET from the streets and rivers with the help of the community. The collective is now grinding and cleaning the plastic, which they hadn’t been able to do because they needed special training. Now the group is about to finish grinding the product to start cleaning it. We were able to organize training sessions with help of experts from recycling plants in other parts of México to use the machinery and now they can sell this PET to further the recycling of the material and reduce the environmental impact of the community.
Along with the work we have been doing in Aguascalientes, Oaxaca, Cuajimalpa and Chimalhuacán, these past weeks we have been very busy in Coyoacán. Here is a bit of what’s been happening.
As we announced previously, Tlalaná is now in Santa Úrsula. We are about to finish our “Starting and strengthening social development projects” workshop. We have had 10 young enthusiasts that are starting to work with us. The sessions have been “interesting, entertaining and full of knowledge”, as one 14-year-old participant put it. He is interested in starting a community bike project, we will be working along with him to make it come true. Other ideas that are present in this laboratory are a soccer tournament for the Santa Úrsula community, a cultural hub and an artistic project that promotes freedom of expression and Mexican cultural values through history. We are very excited to start collaborating with these new collectives that are targeting young people with addiction problems, violence in families and environmental awareness in their communities.
Public event: “Feria de colectivos”
Along with this undertaking, we started promoting our own work within the community. With this in mind, we staged a participatory event in a park in the center of Santa Úrsula. The event was a success, more than 100 people attended and not even the rain stopped people from coming from all over the area, one of Mexico City’s most diverse socio-economically speaking. We are targeting the most marginalized groups of young people. For this, we are starting alliances with the rest of the community from that same area, who will be participating in this process side by side with us. The objective is to involve people in the development of their own community starting by recognizing the value of their help through empowerment, design for sustainability and proactivity. Our motto for this campaign is “Doing whatever you like, you can help anyone alike”.
Learning from our peers, doing for our community
While working, we have always tried to exchange knowledge and ideas with the people we collaborate with. In doing so, we try to always learn and apply what we learn from them. This time, we decided to take action and start our own vegetable garden. Following the example of DHS Guadalupe Peralta and Dkaya Ybaku, Tlalaná Network collectives in Aguascalientes and Oaxaca that work in environmentally sustainable processes through an organic greenhouse and PET recycling respectively. This will also give us the opportunity to learn from the land, attract the attention of other collectives and expand our capabilities for working with other community development projects through sharing experiences and exchanging the products of our hard work. The place we chose for this garden used to be used as a trash deposit, so we started cleaning it and making the soil fertile by adding compost to the lower layers, lots of work that we are sure will be worth every drop of sweat. We decided to take this ambitious project and we will be keeping you posted on the progress. For now, we have involved 14 people from around our neighborhood into preparing the land for planting. We are aiming at growing locally, getting our own produce in a sustainable and organic way, and getting to work with different people that will start being more aware of the environment and their own consumer habits and enjoying fresh vegetables on their tables all year round.
Mexico City has been selected as the first site for our Network Model, which means that we will open our first node there. After one year of focusing our resources to feed the Tlalaná Network, with the help of the local government, interested individuals and groups we are starting to operate it. Here’s some of the work we are doing with these collectives:
Santa María la Ribera, Cuauhtémoc, DF
Enchúlame la Bici is now moving to a new shop, the new place is bigger and better suited to fit the needs of the collective which is now expanding their operation to fit more people and have more capabilities for fixing and making bikes. The collective is using this opportunity to improve their managing skills and instate a system for running the shop and the community project. Things are moving and this collective is well in the way of becoming a full operation that allows young people with self-employment, life-skills and life-project.
San Mateo Tlaltenango, Cuajimalpa, DF
Canto que Florece (another program from Adeco A.C.) and Tlalaná are joining forces with El Chante de Todos. We are together developing our models collaborating in this effort. In the meantime El Chante keeps their usual activities with their community which include danzón classes, movie projections and participation in their town’s celebrations recovering their history, organizing activities and planning events. We will soon have more exciting news about them.
We are starting to work in the Pedregal de Carrasco, Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, Ajusco, Copilco el Alto, Pedregal de Santa Úrsula and Pedregal de Santo Domingo neighborhoods. These are some of Mexico City’s poorest communities, where young people are usually left to fend for themselves. It is up to them to continue studying or to find a job, whichever will take them and usually for minimal wages, being the lack of opportunities the constant. It is in this hostile environment that they are also coping with the challenges of finding themselves stability and a life project. It is not surprising that the area is teeming with young people on the streets. We are very excited to begin working in this area. We will be keeping you updated on our work and the results we achieve.
Tlalaná Facilitators workshop 2014: “Community Development Methodology”
For the fourth consecutive year we organized our Facilitator Workshop. This year we had 10 participants with different aspirations and expectations, all of which nurtured the space and made it unique, resulting in a very rich and educational experience for everyone. The result was that our team has 8 new members that are beginning to work on their skills as facilitators, they will soon be ready to take on new collective projects, we will be working hard these coming months to achieve this goal.
Tlalana keeps working hard in 2014 with young people to work for their communities. This year we have focused our work in going deeper into Iztapalapa, Cuajimalpa, Santa María la Ribera and Aguasclientes, through networking and generating new projects that continue giving the youth opportunities for self-employment and a link to their social and natural environments. Check out our new projects and visit our old ones to know more about how we do this!
La Sierra de Santa Catarina, Iztapalapa, Mexico City
We’ve started a process with Humanidad Sustentable (Sustainable Humanity) as a part of the Tlalana Network, collaborating in the various projects that they currently hold. Their purpose is to transform their environment through a project incubator that promotes the construction of green houses and vegetable gardens in their area, thus diminishing the waste and consumption trail in the public and private spaces of the Santa Catarina Mountains.
San Mateo Tlaltenango, Cuajimalpa, Mexico City
This year begins with new strength for El Chante de Todos. We’re working with them to consolidate their actual projects which include free ballroom dance lessons for the community, book clubs, movie nights and more. The challenge will be to redesign a 5 year plan in which the main objective will be to work on the changes the community of San Mateo Tlaltenango has undergone and their own members as well. The current members of the team have been working together ever since the creation of the group, always trying to maintain close to the people that belong to their little town.
Guadalupe Peralta, Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes
In Aguascalientes we are now reaping the benefits of two-years-worth of work. Focusing our activities in the DHS Guadalupe Peralta group, we are supporting them in growing their current production of vegetables and fruits and strengthening its community. At the same time, we are implementing a plan to spread the Tlalana project to new young people in the area. Among other things, we started collaborating with a group of locals, young people that are fresh university graduates starting a project on urban agriculture, their name: Semillas en Concreto (Seeds in concrete). It will be a collaboration of 5 months in which both groups will be working side by side sharing their experience in urban gardens and the production of green houses. We are all eager to share our knowledge and help the people within the Guadalupe Peralta community to achieve what our young DHS Peralta members have already done: to build and transform their environment through a project of their own, inviting others to develop and improve their community.
Santa María la Ribera, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City
Enchúlame la Bici is a group of young people with a lot of experience in teamwork and with the will to transform their surroundings. Nowadays the group is expanding their project opening a new bike workshop; this is always a challenging and interesting process for any group. To succeed they are going to have to define creative ways to continue the project in two different sites, strengthening their communication and organizational skills. We will be working side by side with them, helping to establish a new hub for urban mobility, sustainable social environments and developing their community.
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