LAVAPIÉS AS A SPACE FOR REFLECTION FOR YOUNG EUROPEANS

THE FOOTBALL CLUB DRAGONES DE LAVAPIES HAS HOSTED AN ERASMUS PROJECT THAT´S BROUGHT 23 YOUNG CHANGEMAKERS TO LAVAPIÉS, IN MADRID CITY CENTER

Last week, 23 young “changemakers” from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic and Spain have visited the Lavapiés neighborhood, one of the most multicultural places in the heart of Madrid, within the Erasmus + project “Live Together, Learn Together”. The Dragones de Lavapies Soccer Club has been the host of this initiative which, among its objectives, is to support the ideas of tolerance, equality, active citizenship and respect for human rights in the daily work activity with youth.

The workshops have taken place in the Community Center Casino de la Reina, Casa Encendida, old tobacco factory Tabacalera and urban community garden, Esta es una Plaza. Esteban Ibarra president of Movement Against Intolerance offered a very inspiring talk. Esteban, born in Lavapiés, spoke about the importance of memory in a Europe that faces great challenges, the need for a “counter-discourse” of hate and about how rap can be an effective way to spread the message to young people.

In Esta es una Plaza, Santiago Salvador told the story of how the neighbors transformed a lot into a public space, an urban garden open to the neighborhood. In the old tobacco factory Tabacalera, Andrea and Gregorio answered the questions about the management of space and the different artistic collectives that welcomes the building.

In addition, the young people got to know the sports initiative of the “Dragones de Lavapiés”, which takes place at the Embajadores 18 site, on the courts of the Casino de la Reina and in the field of Chopera, in Retiro. One of the teenage soccer players, Violeta Bolaños, was in charge, along with the vice president, Ana Sánchez Mora, to make the presentation of the local project: “The club is composed of 120 children between 5 and 16 years old with more than 30 different national origins , We try to encourage the girls to take aim and be more” they said.

The various working groups, from organizations such as the Red Cross Italy, AIESEC Romania, the organization for transparency and meritocracy IDEA (Greece) have provided reflections such as these summed up by Petra Hencelová, student and football coach of Slovakia:

“In sports clubs there is a great potential to create more united communities. Activities not exclusively sports (excursions, dances, picnics …) are very important, especially for children and young people. A sense of belonging and social cohesion could prevent future conflicts. Children growing up in a friendly community who accept them as individuals do not have racist or xenophobic attitudes “

One of the ideas that will start working is to create a virtual network of organizations that can be extended to exchanges, visits and tournaments.

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