Maciel Island

Starting in the year 2003, due to two cases of police brutality, AMBRU began working in Isla Maciel with the initial goal of aiding families of the victims. However, other members of the community who had been victims of police violence began to come forward. It quickly became clear that the scope of the problem was much larger than had first been thought. This led Association Miguel Brue to redefine their strategies for working with families, kids, and adolescents in Isla Maciel and begin to envision a larger and more long-term project.

The general goal of the project that AMBRU began in Isla Maciel was to provide people with the tools so that they could improve their quality of life while reinforcing political values through empowerment.

The Association worked to help generate an organization comprised of the residents of Isla Maciel that allowed them to take collective action to better their quality of life.

At the start, the organization worked at a club, the 3rd of February, in precarious conditions until 2005, when a member of the community that supported the work of AMBRU donated the use of a warehouse that had formerly been a shoe factory for a term of two years.

Association Miguel Bru accompanied and supported members of the community in making denouncements against police brutality, organizing marches at the police station, using the news media to generate publicity, and creating links between various social actors in the neighbourhood such as the school, the health clinic, the church, and other organizations. During the weekends, food was served at the warehouse in a program sustained by members of the neighbourhood.

One group with which the Association worked during this period was made up of about 50 youths from the community. With them, different workshops were developed that reflected their needs and interests. According to the objectives of the project, the workshops were implemented in a space of support and development that allowed a change in their understanding and appreciation of their economic, social, and human rights.

The workshops worked to empower youths to protect their human rights. Students worked collectively to generate ideas about how to address the problems that they had collectively identified as priorities in their community.

The workshops, offered until 2006, were human rights, gender, journalism, photography, baking, haircutting, electricity, and computer skills. All of these were taught by professions that volunteered their time and served as a cornerstone of the project.

Younger children began to be exposed to the activities at the through family members that were part of or led workshops. Due to their ever increasing presence, there began to be demand for workshops aimed at this younger group. The first was on Children’s Rights, which taught through staging puppet shows.

During the year 2006, other workshops developed such as Children’s rights, Homework Help, Photography, and Kids Radio Programs.
Part of the result of the work in the workshops with the children and adolescents was that their work from the Photography and Mural workshops was displayed outside of Isla Maciel at the School of Journalism and Communication of La Plata. Also, the broadcasts created by the workshop on Children’s Radio was presented by the same kids in various radio stations in Buenos Aires.

During the first half of 2007, the children were included at the warehouse with workshops in Cooking and baking, drawing, painting, homework help, and also assisting with the eatery. Now, the Association offers a focus on Communication, Human Rights, in School 6 in Isla Maciel, through workshops in which students document their experiences and their community through photographs and stories, creating a powerful window into their lives.