The community of Yuguelito is located in the southeastern quadrant of Mexico City atop the remains of a former landfill. Despite having no public access to potable water, the community recently worked alongside Isla Urbana, a Mexican NGO devoted to sustainable water usage, to build an extensive system for rainwater capture and purification. Despite such accomplishments, the poverty is dramatic, and over time, the economic has spilled over into the social. Problems such as alcoholism, drug addiction, unemployment and lack of youth opportunity are widespread.
For these reasons, the results of a 2013 survey, conducted through the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, are all the more remarkable. In the survey, residents were asked to identify the social service they would most like to see brought to Yuguelito. From all the options, which included mental health services, computer skills training, and sports opportunities, they chose music. Music, many argued, would be at once a way of cultivating a distinct identity for the community and of confronting the many challenges – particularly for young people – endemic to life in Yuguelito. It bears repeating: amidst such economic duress, the residents of Yuguelito chose music.
To learn more about the Kithara project in Yuguelito, click here.