Guatemala’s murder rate is ten times the world average. The harsh streets of Guatemala City are packed with drugs, gangs and guns. Caja Lúdica is a youth arts collective, using arts and carnival activities to promote a culture of peace in communities rocked by violence.
Using activities like drama, dance, acrobatics and stilt-walking, Caja Lúdica draws youngsters – including gang members – in to a range of social and educational opportunities. It aims to help these marginalised young people discover a sense of purpose and of worth. Many go on to find work in the arts sector.
Caja Lúdica aims to reclaim community space for enjoyment and togetherness, and to help brutalised youngsters discover a sense of purpose and of worth, so they can grow into peaceful, responsible Guatemalan citizens.
However, in less than 60 days, three members of Colectivo Caja Lúdica have been assassinated. “When somebody dies violently their soul does not rest, for this we ask of Ajaw (the Creador) that he accompanies our compañeros”, says Julia Escobar, director of the centre.
The victims were Juan Manuel Orozco Ambrosio, alias El Fu, killed on the 5th April, Nexo Pineda, known as El Gordo, murdered on the 23rd May and Saulo Fernando González Estrada, ‘el Chucky’, died on 30th May together with five other youths.
There is more here in Spanish from El Periodico.