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Alianza para el Desarrollo Juvenil Comunitario (ADEJUC)
ADEJUC is an alliance of youth groups working in urban and rural areas of Guatemala to promote human rights and social change. These areas of focus are particularly poignant in the Ixcan, a municipality where the government of Guatemala systematically violated human rights during the civil war. Atrocities committed include multiple massacres in predominantly indigenous communities. Although the Peace Accords were signed in 1996, human rights and social change are slow in reaching this impoverished region.
ADEJUC works in 21 communities within the Ixcan and is always looking for innovative ways to increase youth participation and communicate information related to its mission.
To increase awareness of the partner organization’s mission through art and engage more people in its work.
By the end of October 2003, people in the Ixcan will have an increased awareness regarding ADEJUC's mission and work.
By the end of October 2003, theater workshop participants in the Ixcan will have an increased ability to use theater to convey information about social issues that are important to them.
This project will span the entirety of my time with ArtCorps. There are a few reasons for this. First, I will be working in all 21 communities where ADEJUC works, although not all of them will have theater workshops. Second, it takes a long time to develop theater skills, develop original plays and rehearse them. I will start out by encouraging youth to express themselves vocally and physically through basic theater exercises. I hope to have youth in each community develop plays related to social or cultural issues that are relevant to them. The ultimate goal is to have sustainable theater groups in at least some of the communities. By sustainable, I mean that my theater students will be able to teach theater to other youth.
In each of the communities where I focus on theater, I will do the following:
This project has had varying success in each of the communities I worked with. In all ten communities I worked in, there was a general increase in knowledge and skills in theater arts, with several performances presented publicly. This a long way from students giggling during the initial theater workshops because the vocal and physical exercises were completely foreign to them.
These are some of the highlights:
As it turns out, planning to work in all 21 of ADEJUC's communities was over ambitious. I ended up working in just ten, and even that was often difficult to manage in terms of time and travel.
There seems to be a genuine excitement about theater in the communities where I worked. Of course leaders emerged and some theater groups were more dedicated and talented than others. Still, I think that all the students are fairly well equipped to continue creating and performing plays as well as training new actors. This was evident towards the end of my time in the Ixcan, when some of the theater troupes began conducting theater workshops of their own and one group was invited to perform in Coban by the Myrna Mack Foundation.