My Blossoming mouthpiece

By: Marinela Pascuales
Translated by: Laura Viera A
Photos: German Beleño

Mi Boquilla Florece (My blossoming mouthpiece) is an environmental technology initiative. It was created due to the interest of working for a better environment, helping with cultural spaces and promoting reforestation, cleaning and social work with children by using acting, dance, singing, painting, and other activities: all with artistic language.

Their coordinator, teacher and artist, Germán Beleño exposes that one of the many objectives the project has is that all teachers, no matter their area of expertise. They want to student oriented activities aimed to protect the environment. The idea is to safeguard everything that is part of our natural and cultural heritage, contributing to biodiversity and helping with the pollution consequences.


Photo: German Beleño
© all rights reserved.

But where did this project originate? It originated in the Technical Educational Institution of la Boquilla (INETEB) District, a 20 minute drive in northern Cartagena.

Today, thanks to this initiative, life stories of both students and community members have intertwined in the creation of changes towards the environmental and biodiversity protection; this changes are their motivation.

Based on the “Think globally and act locally” slogan, since 2010 they have been working with public and private organizations generating strategies. The idea is to educate children and young people about the conservation and preservation of the environment using their skills and talents.

Leiner Aguilar Mendoza, explains that the aim of such a project is to meet the environmental situation of the planet. In such recognizing that one of the great challenges facing humanity is climate change, given that it jeopardizes our development and therefore, our behavior should change and schools should develop campaigns that present this issue.

Aguilar, who also urged his generation to continue working for the protection and conservation of the environment, is one of the people who gives a voice to the songs that other members of the project write.


Foto: German Beleño
© all rights reserved.

This lyrics are meant to catch the attention of others and generate environmental change.

On the other hand, Beleño who is the project manager, emphasizes the the genius and high artistic coefficient of each student. This does not come as a wonder given the events that they are a part of both nationally and internationally. The have made it clear that they are extremely talented and posses a love for nature and our planet.

As an immediate consequence, within the First International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Cartagena de Indias, students create throughout this imaginary their own masterpiece. They are using residues extracted from swamps, mangroves and beaches and created metaphors by building using a parallel reality where they managed to build alluding to reality and misuse all the waste and showing its impact on life and the planet’s biosphere.

Later these art lovers and ecology manage presented their achievements to Cartagena’s mayor during closing of the Forum Plan 4C, Competitive and Climate Compatible Cartagena, forum convened to address climate change. At this moment, students expressed their vision of environmental problems, standing out in the painting competition of climate change and the official video of the campaign 4C Plan.

Dayana Sugey Gómez Roca, member of the project Mi Boquilla Florece and who was one of the happy winners reveals that the best inheritance that you can leave all future generations is our planet and that is the reason why we should protect it.

This is not the end. During the Latin American Rally and the Caribbean “Schools: Sustainable Future” event that brings together schools in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Bolivia with climate change projects, the INETEB ranked second place in Latin America and the first place in the country. This event was promoted by UNESCO sponsored by organizations such as the OAS, the United Nations Program for Environment (UNEP) and the UN.

So far, we have witnessed how a passionate about art and ecology group of students have managed to stand out and from their own classrooms created a positive change in their community.But, what is the reality faced by making a positive change in their community, but what is the reality faced by these young people to complete their secondary education? What happens to the students once they graduate from school?

It should be noted that La Boquilla, is a fishing community mostly of African descent. Currently the population has high levels of poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunities in addition to limited access to basic services.

Amidst this scenario, we encounter these young group of people who are struggling to survive and get ahead; filled with dreams and hopes. Although some of them live in extreme poverty, this has not been an obstacle when trying to excel in artistic or environmental aspects.

One of their biggest dreams is to go to college but in many occasions are frustrated because they don’t have the financial means to do so.


Photo: German Beleño
© all rights reserved.

This is the case of Javier Martinez, who has great talent as a composer. He hoped to continue his studies after finishing school, but because of economic reasons and lack of support he has resorted to informal economy in the beaches of Cartagena, making enough money fo the daily support of his family.

Another example is Rafael Romero, who wants to study Social Communication and Journalism, but the economic situation prevents him from doing so. Bievenido Pereira who wants to study drama but can not do so because they don’t earn enough money to survive and help his family.

However, many remain part of the project as volunteers, do not lose hope of finding the support need to further their success and eventually achieving their goals and dreams.

Tey also expect to gain the districts, government or institutional attention so that they can continue to create social change using their skills. In La Boquilla there are much more than poor struck families, it is filled with talented young people loaded with big dreams who want to be given the opportunity to improve their quality of life. Moreover, Germán Beleño, continues working and promoting all environmental agents. He wants them to promote changes through art as means of social therapy for the construction of strategies that seek to control environmental degradation that exists all over Cartagena.

 


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