Proyecto Escaramujo: Knowledge, research and dynamism
The origin of Proyecto Escaramujo was a 2010 undergraduate dissertation on Journalism. Its initial objective was to approach the reality of a group of adolescents, at a Comprehensive Training School in Havana.
With the slogan, Make it count, since then this space has contributed to the psychosocial development of girls, boys and adolescents, based on educative practice, particularly for those who live in socially vulnerable situations.
Over 10 years, the project has grown from workshops with youth to awareness campaigns, the creation of teams in different provinces, the presentation of this experience in several institutions of the country, and training in popular education and participatory techniques for self-employed workers.
“If success is understood as the satisfaction of having realized the dreams you set out to, I think that we can say we are happy. We are very internally critical, and do not tire of setting ourselves new goals,” explains journalist Rodolfo Romero, one of the project founders.
The name of the project comes from the song of the same title by Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, the lyrics of which describe the project: “knowledge can’t be a luxury,” and “I live to question.” The song also particularly refers to the different spaces in which the project is undertaken: in the community and the academy.
“We are entrepreneurs in the way in which we self-manage ourselves. The Faculty of Communications offers us legal support, but doesn’t facilitate the material resources to undertake our activities. We are not a private business, nor do we receive any income for the work we do,” Romero notes.
To begin with, the camera, cell phone or laptop used to film and edit the experiences during the project, belonged to one of the members of the team. Later, thanks to the links with other organizations such as the Centro Martin Luther King and the NGO Norwegian People’s Aid, they were able to acquire some equipment.
A total of 155 young people have benefitted from Proyecto Escaramujo since its founding. Today, the team includes 50 communications, medical sciences and psychology students, and university professors, the majority from Havana.
“Many of the small businesses and cooperatives that exist in the country promote a philosophy similar to our own: dialogue, horizontality, collective organization, knowledge building and constant participation,” Romero notes.
Students and professors agree that communications are vital to raise awareness the results of the group, as explained by journalist Beatriz Herrera. “We define strategies, manuals, visual identity; we have pages on Facebook, Instagram; a YouTube channel and speak at academic events.”
According to Lázaro Raydel Galano, a History student at the Enrique José Varona University of Pedagogical Sciences, the project also boosts student theses, promotes better schools, and understands education as a process of the exchange of knowledge.
“When, due to our work, an adolescent changes their behaviour and recognizes our efforts, that, undoubtedly, we view as a success. We substitute the deficit of certain material resources with human values, modern techniques and social impact,” Galano concludes.