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Taller de Paz Awarded Davis Project for Peace Grant

Taller de Paz Awarded  
Davis Project for Peace Grant

by Maki Somosot '12

Taller de Paz
From left, Taller de Paz co-founders Alex Frye '11, Deivid Rojas '11, Andrés Freire '11, and (front row center) Camila Leiva '09, with program facilitators from Conciencia Social/La Universidad Javeriana.

Deivid Rojas '11, Camila Leiva '09, Alex Frye '11, and Andres Freire '11 recently received a Davis Project for Peace grant to develop the fledgling Taller de Paz (TDP) educational program in Bogotá, Colombia. They established the organization, whose name in English means "workshop for peace," to empower displaced and disadvantaged Colombian youth to become devoted activists in their community through practical, artistic, and social education. The educational program is structured around four workshops (talleres) for photography/film, art, English/storytelling, and social justice.

Last summer, TDP's initial implementation in Suba, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Bogotá, met with much success. "They're cool," said Luisa Forero Tellez, 11, of those first TDP classes, "because we can express ourselves freely without worrying about being in conflict with each other or not having any fun."

The Project for Peace grant will allow Rojas and company to return to Colombia this summer with the hope of establishing a solid, respectful, and long-term relationship with the Suba community. They aim to reconstruct the educational curriculum to better suit the particular needs of the Suba community and actively involve more community members in the program operations. The $10,000 grant will cover all travel, living, and operating expenses, as well as program equipment costs. It will also support five additional student volunteers to administrate and lead the workshops.

Taller de Paz works in local partnership with Conciencia Social, a university foundation specializing in the revitalization of displaced communities like Suba in Colombia. Now in its fourth year, the Project for Peace grant is designed to support 100 socially empowered students to implement their ideas for enacting peace all over the world. The grant is the gift of philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who launched the program in celebration of her 100th birthday.