Empower citizens to
actively participate for a more united and just city, country and world.
encouraging active participation in order to transform, unite and strengthen
Strengthen the identity and the sense of community of a
vulnerable population through social and artistic processes.
Rescue underused spaces in vulnerable communities to
create common areas where the population involved can
share their collective identity, recognize their
interconnection and improve social cohesion.
Improve the social cohesion of vulnerable communities
through citizen participation, by encouraging students,
teachers and parents to interact with the target population
and work for a common goal.
Detonate social artistic projects
that inspire and empower
communities to create more
projects on their own.
As a school community,
accompany the target population
and facilitate both projects to
began in 2010 as a
collaborative effort to work
with Colectivo Tomate, a Nongovernmental Organization
created by four former
students whose objective is to
through social processes by
creating murals on the faces of
the houses. The designs
uncover the identity of those
involved; as they speak of the
past, present and future, of
who we were, who we are,
and who we want to be as a
The first project, along with Colectivo Tomate, was in
neighborhood in Puebla s city center, which has been declared as part of the
World Heritage by UNESCO.
Although Xanenetla has played an important role in the history of Puebla as one
of the original barrios, it has been abandoned and currently suffers from
economic hardships, which have led to a critical state of ruin that increases over
time and contributes to crime.
In the initial stage, the school
community and former students
of the American school of
Puebla, along with homeowners
participated in the creation of
The result was an urban
improvement, a stronger sense
of community, citizen
participation, economic growth,
teamwork, and the possibility of a
brighter future for Xanenetla.
A barrio that was once classified as “dangerous”, became an attraction
for local and foreign tourists who wanted to see the murals and become
acquainted with its people s stories. Neighbors who had never met each
other now gather to talk and organize to do more for their community.
Citizens in Xanenetla realized that, when united, they could attack any
problem, achieve anything, and build whatever they needed and wanted.
Xanenetla has a very young population. Every afternoon,
most of the children from the barrio go out to play on the street while
their parents work. This makes them very vulnerable to dangerous
situations or even illegal activities.
Quickly the organized community realized it was very
important to offer a safe space for these children to
grow. This was seen as a new opportunity and both
Xanenetla and the school community arrived at the
conclusion that the construction of a community library
would be an excellent solution
Again the American school of Puebla became involved in the
construction, execution and coordination of this community library which
seeks to create a space for children, young people, and adults in the
neighborhood and surrounding areas where they can
have access to cultural codes, encourage
reading, education and development.
In the beginning the space
allotted for the community
library was just an
underused room filled with
rubbish, with no light or
floor. The American
School students decided to
raise funds in school, with
the help of teachers and
parents to buy materials for
the construction of an
adequate space for the
Once the construction began, the students designed the space to have
the necessary tools to work with the children.
High school students organized a book drive within the school
community and the books donated where organized and classified,
according to Dewey Decimal System.
Once the community library was ready, it became an opportunity
for students, teachers, and parents to participate either by donating
books, or by carrying out activities at the library. Since then, every
Saturday a group of students, former students and sometimes teachers
and parents organize cultural activities with the participation of the
citizens of Xanenetla.
Some of the different activities done within the community library
• Readers and Writers Workshop
• Workshops in general
• Reading Circles
• Literary Cafes
• Book Fair
• Reading Marathons
• Evenings of Theatre and Cinema
• Temporary exhibitions of photography and painting
• And many more.
It is important to emphasize that these social processes began because of the
initiative of former students from American School of Puebla, whose
concern and social consciousness began at
and were so well established that continues to bear fruit.
While the community library is one of the positive consequences of the muralism
project, one could not happen without the other and both improve the social
cohesion of vulnerable communities through citizen participation, and confront
students with realities they even didn t know existed. By encouraging students,
teachers and parents to interact with the target population and work for a
common goal, leadership and social consciousness is boosted and promoted at
Young people from the
school and children in
the neighborhood have
been involved in
creating something that
has a positive
impact on their selfesteem. They have
talents, by using their
artistic skills for a
rather than destruction.
Students, teachers and parents are always suggesting new ideas and
things that can be done in the community library and with Xanenetla. This shows
a very intimate relationship that has been built between both communities, a
connection between them that could last a lifetime. The school community will
always have Xanenetla to remind us of our responsibility as citizens of this world
and citizens of Xanenetla will recognize their power in spite of their situation, to
participate for a more united and a just world.
The work carried with the murals in Xanenetla resulted in
less crime rate which has altered the idea that citizens have of a
neighborhood that was considered dangerous.
Since 2011 Xanenetla
appears on the touristic
maps of the City of
Puebla, which not only
helped revitalize the area
and increase the income
of local businesses, but
also indicated a clear
sign of the safety the
neighborhood can offer
visitors, who can now
explore without fear.
The community library, is now recognized, as a place that promotes reading and
that can be open to all the neighbors, where many cultural activities are held
which are beneficial for the development of the community.
At the present, there are approximately 35 children from Xanenetla participating
every single Saturday in the activities that the American School of Puebla carries
out at the community library. The project began with approximately eight
children and now there are more and different children participating. This shows
how the community library has become a link between neighbors, promoting the
peaceful coexistence of children and adults, not only in the neighborhood, but
also in the surrounding areas.
While many students continue to work
every Saturday in the community library,
the same social process was just begun
in a new community called Loma Bella.
Loma Bella is a housing unit with a
broken economy and certain safety
issues. There were people who had
lived there for 30 years and had never
done anything to engage with their
neighbors. Students from the American
School of Puebla carried out the entire
social process involving workshops and
different activities to strengthen the
identity and the sense of community of
the target population.
The entire process ended, again with a
mural that remained as a symbol of the
organization and power that the citizens
have when united.
The next project to be done in Loma Bella has yet to be discovered but, a new
bond has initiated between two communities that otherwise would have never
been in contact.
Every COMMUNITEAM involved, being the American School of Puebla,
Xanenetla or Loma Bella, can now recognize their power to transform their city,
country, and world with active and united participation.
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