Ronald Palacios

(COLOMBIA)

RONALD lives in Belén, one of the neighborhoods of La Candelaria, the historical and cultural center of Bogotá. Belén is a very small area comprised by no more than twenty blocks. Due to its location, receives a lot of movement of people traveling in and outside the city center, but despite that, it can still be considered a quiet area. Unluckily Belén has traditionally been popular by having high rates of unemployment, public insecurity and violence among its inhabitants.

Ronald is much attached to his neighborhood and since some years back he has been involved in Proyecto Casa B, a self-managed cultural center aimed to build a solid cultural basis experiencing with community development. They organize different events and activities where citizens question their role within the city/community and seek to build the future of Belén.

Casa B is the headquarters for Ronald’s initiative, La Escuelita del Mal. It is, by definition, a skateboarding school, but by using sport as an educational tool, Ronald and his sister organize all kind of workshops: audiovisuals, drawing, writing, serigraphy, etc. Many kids and teenagers from Belén and beyond participate in these trainings and gain skills that enable them to have a more holistic development. “In La Escuelita del Mal anyone can become a trainer, you just need to have the will to share your knowledge with the rest of the community” he says. Ronald and his sister started the project around one year ago, and they receive a lot of participants “We usually go to schools and explain them the initiative, but most of the new participants are informed thanks to word of mouth

Ronald also collaborates in other initiatives that take place in Casa B, giving music concerts or working at the community orchard. “Casa B is like a family where we cooperate with one another when needs arise”

Ronald envisions a future, not only for himself, but also for his initiatives and for his neighborhood “What Casa B allows is precisely to projecting oneself (…) and makes you question which will be the next step you’ll do, you can’t remain doing always the same

Ronald’s dream is to secure La Escuelita del Mal and ensure its future sustainability. He dreams of having its own space, where anyone could go and skate, or paint or play music, where there’ll be a whole social movement itself.  “I see myself dreaming out loud, but one ought to dream… Yes, it is a dream, but dreams come true by working step by step”. Currently, all the workshops organized by them are free of charge for the participants, but through, for instance, self-producing merchandize they aim to generate their own financial resources to continue operating and growing.

Ronald believes it is extremely beneficial for the neighborhood to support these kinds of social activities. “Unfortunately, initiatives like La Escuelita del Mal sometimes disappear because people is not always willing to work for free and the available public resources are not enough to fund them

If you want to learn more about the project, visit: https://vimeo.com/82390338; https://vimeo.com/100838691; https://www.facebook.com/ProyectoCasaB/?fref=ts; https://www.instagram.com/procasab/