Poverty and discrimination are aggressive obstacles shoeshiners face against the respect of their dignity and rights. Hormigón Armado The Shoeshinners Newspaper gives them a voice through printed media exposing their dignified, legitimate and sacrificed contribution to the war on poverty. Amplifying ourselves digitally we could significantly increase our demand of respect and pro-active solidarity towards them from society and local authorities.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
About 4,000 shoeshiners work in La Paz. Discrimination causes most to wear masks to avoid being recognized working. The activity isn’t protected by labor laws, much of its population is underage, under-educated formally and live in poverty with many homeless. This adds to significant under-representation online and in social, legal, and municipal administrative spheres. For over 7 years we work 30 shoeshiners against this unacceptable situation.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Our succesful magazine, distributed by shoeshiners who create much of its content, portrays their lives and issues, advocates for their rights (and of street and working youth) and exposes the problems they face. Adding digital media we’d create an online resource and open another medium for shoeshiners to express their preoccupations as a tool for those working to help them and to creatively gather and generate political and social solidarity.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established that will contribute to the success of the project.
PADEM (Swiss Agency for Developmentand Cooperation), focused locally on digital citizen journalism, has agreed to lead workshops. Staff includes journalists and newspaper editors. Arte y Culturas Bolivianas Foundation helps our administration. We are partnered with shoeshiner associations and with the Municipality´s office for working youth. Partnerships are intended with NGOs (some we´ve worked with before) working with related issues.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
H. A. is made up of volunteers and 30 shoeshiners. The latter sell the magazine we produce together, keeping 100% of the sales´ money with the condition of attending workshops. We have sustained over 7 years of weekly workshops related to personal and laboral development which proved that while we produce the magazine the shoeshiners will attend. We wish to train the 30 shoeshiners in the project with whom we´ve built a great relationship.
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Rising Voices could help with links for further assistance and partnerships; advice, including experience from other projects and from workshops/materials on digital media training; access to relevant content for our printed and digital magazine (as Rising Voices deals with issues of interest to us); and traffic to our digital space. Adding Microgrants 2013 to our curriculum would give us a great boost of legitimacy and experience.
Jaime Andrés Villalobos
Fundación Arte y Culturas Bolivianas