Friday, March 8, 2013

The Plan

Bogota, Columbia

August 1 – August 14, 2012

Arts in Transformation students in the M.A. in Urban Studies fulfilled their annual international service/learning experience to Bogota, Colombia August 10-14, 2012. The trip was led and coordinated through the international programs of Buildabridge International a community partner of Eastern University. Partnering with Comunidad Viva, a small community-based organization, the class: 1) participated in training of local artists, teachers and community workers, 2) conducted a catalytic Arts for Hope Camp based on the theme of social fabric, and 3) studied the urban context of Bogota and the organizations that serve its people. The project was coordinated with Jorge and Virginia Enciso, two missionaries who have worked with the Comunidad Viva for more than four years. A local congregation works with area congregations and associations that serve the children of the community, primarily those who have academic and social deficiencies. View the video at the end of this post for information about Comunidad Viva.



  • Model a catalytic five-day arts camp for up to 100 children focused on increasing their commitment to learning and their abiity to articulate a vision for their future 
  • Faciltate a MINI-INSTITUTE (training) for up to 40 community & church youth serving staff focused on creating safe spaces for children 

  • Ten hours of training provided over three days for 30 local youth-serving staff 
  • Five arts-based classes provided for 50 children over 5 days taught by teams of US & local artists 
  • One arts-based skills class provided for 30 adult women over 5 days taught by US & local artists 
  • 90% of school-age children express a clear vision for their future as measured by pre-post verbal & arts responses to a question about their future 
  • 85% of school-age children demonstrate a one-level increase in desire to learn new things as measured by pre-post pictoral assessment (color in one of three faces expressing emotion about learning) 
  • 90% of school-age children indicate one new subjects they would like to study as indicated by written statements. 
  • 100% of the Educational Outcomes reached for the Culture in Community Contexts graduate course, including increased understanding of the history & development of Colombian culture, experience of cross-cultural faith traditions & art forms, increased awareness of the short & long-term needs of Colombian children & families, and greater understanding of the nature of poverty & the Christian response to needs growing out of poverty, increased understanding of the arts for community development as measured by course assignments. 

ART CLASS TEAMS – PLAN A (60-100 Children) 

The following information was provided by our hosts. 

Socio-Economic Classifications in Colombia

Socioeconomic classifications are used to measure how society is broken down based, either on the income that people earn, or the taxes that they pay.

In Colombia, socioeconomic classification is a tool used by the country (based on law 142 from 1994, article 102) in order to classify residential buildings based on certain parameters and guidelines of the National Administrative Department of Statistics - DANE. DANE keeps track of the poverty levels of property-owners, the delivery of publics services to residencies, whether the property is urban or rural, and indigenous occupation, among others.

Each mayor must survey residential properties in his or her municipality or district.At present, there are six different classifications which are legally established to describe neighborhoods. 1 is the lowest and 6 is the highest. The following illustrates Colombia’s national average:

The classification received by each neighborhood determines the amount of taxes that need to be paid, the cost of public services and utilities, access to health services, tuition amounts for public universities, among others. Those areas which fall under status 1 and 2 receive some level of subsidy from the areas classified as a 4 or 5. They also receive some national benefits, in the form of health, services, soldarity funds and investments in social services.

Salitre Alto.

The neighborhood of Salitre Alto, located in the Suba region of Bogota, is classified as a level 2 under the DANE socioeconomic indicator system. In other words, as was explained above, this area has some benefits, but it also faces various land issues.
  • It is built on a mountain, meaning that the ground has an inclined slope which prevents adecuate pedestrian and vehicular circulation.
  • Approximately 50% of its roads are paved, including the commercial sector, in which you will find wood-working, flower shops, decorative stores, and warehouses. This is the only section where appropriate vehicular circulation exists.
  • The area that has not been paved is the part with the greatest slope. Some work has been done to improve the ground level and allow for adecuate transit, especially since this is where the majority of residential homes are located. Furthermore, the slope cuases a lot of water, and even streams, to pass through the area.
  • With no vehicular circulation, it is difficult for trash pick-up to be properly provided in this area with the largest number of residents. One can also find piles of dumped trash, which is a public health issue.

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