« Player Street », a model of co-management between educators and users of a social center

Chams, Danil, Mélissa, Inés, Marwan, Loâne, Sefa, Youssef, Mohamed and their educators Alexis and Anaïs, coming from Vienne, France, decided to undertake the project “Player Street” in order to organize and finance their desire to travel to Peru. Present for a week in Qosqo Maki in April 2017, they talk about their experience.



– Hello everybody, could you introduce yourself in a few words?
All: We are a group of 9 young persons aged from 13 to 16 and two educators. We come from Vienne, from a social center called “Vallée de GERE”, where we go since we were 5-6 years old. We created an association in the center, called “Player Street” in order to carry out self-financing actions for this project in Peru.


– Why did you have this project to go to Peru? Where does this initiative come from, how did everything begin?
All: We decided to go out of Europe (which is the classical travel of every center), to discover a less frequent place and to meet other ways of life, to discover a new culture, a new continent. Moreover, we thought that it was maybe our unique opportunity to travel far away from home and to discover Peru. The choice was also motivated by Alexis, our educator, who already had many experiences in South America and also thanks to the contact we had with a Peruvian social center that helped us.
Firstly, the project started with different meetings where we planned the proceedings of our different actions all year long, talked about fundraising ideas, etc… Then, the next step was to realize these actions.


– Which actions did you lead to raise funds?
All: Many events were organized to carry out our project:
•      Gift wrapping in sport and toy shops at Christmas time.
•      Christmas markets, including in Vienne, where we sold cakes, spicy merguez sausage, candy skewers, hot chocolates….
•      On market days, installation of a food booth in a bar owned by a kid’s mother from the social center.
•      Preparation of couscous, tajine and oriental cakes to eat in, to take away or for delivery.
•      For Easter, Easter egg hunt in the gardens of Vienne.
•      Organization of a charity fair for the youth of the recreation center and a special day for seniors, but also carnivals and block parties.
•      Mayor’s support and financing from the municipality based on application file. As a compensation, we will have to hand in a video travel report.


– Why did you decide to stay in Qosqo Maki?
All: We chose the city of Cusco for its historical prestige and we arrived at Qosqo Maki thanks to Alexis. We called the French consulate in Cusco, explaining who we were and our project: we were then advised to spend our nights at Qosqo Maki. Alexis got in touch with Indah, director of the association, in order to exchange their point of view about education and pedagogy, and to conclude they had the same orientations. Then we set the dates and the travel program. Indeed, it was important for us to have an association that could guide us in all the process and could be an intermediary for everything related to the travel organization. The idea was also to be able to meet the young Peruvians aged the same than us!



– What did thought about the inauguration of the cultural hall?
All: Very cheerful and lively, above all the clown show and the circus troupe. Moreover, we felt very invested in the organization of the inauguration as we could take part of the food preparation (with Safa’s special pizza, the new chef). We also led a makeup booth, helped in the creation of “ojos de dios” and banners, but also had the opportunity to see the musical show. All those things enabled us to exchange with the youth of the dormitory before and during the show.


– What did you prefer during your stay in Peru?
Chams: Going to Plaza de Armas, visiting the shops and markets, having a walk in the city, wandering and above all enjoying the unique atmosphere you can feel in Cusco.
Danil: What I liked the most during my stay was to visit the Amaru community because it is a community with a cultural wealth, where old and modern know how to live together! I also liked the nature around the community and the narrowness of the roads, chewing coca leaves, seeing alpacas in the countryside and walking with them…
Inès: The same as Danil, the Amaru community (very different way of life, dressed in traditional clothes), but also the city markets (very local and I could practice the art of negotiation!).
Mélissa: Seeing Machu Picchu despite of the fact that I was sick during the whole journey. I also enjoyed talking with the youth of the association and the guide Raúl.


– What did you like in the meetings with the youth of Qosqo Maki?
Mélissa: It was great to go to the swimming-pool and to play game with them. In these moments, the differences of culture and origins did not matter anymore. Such a great time!
Inès: Exchanging about ping-pong because I had a great team-mate (the much talked about Waldir) and we trashed everybody!
Danil: I liked playing football with Waldir, Maykol and Kike and mixing the teams, even if with the colleagues of the center, we lost because of Marwan who scored an own goal.
All: The swimming-pool were we had time to really share a moment with them, the fact that everyone had time to introduce himself, but also the ping-pong when we shared a moment all together!


– One last word?
Melissa: It was super great, and now I would like to get a Peruvian child! This one goes out to all the Peruvian kids!
Inès: A big kiss to little Killa, the kids are too cute! People are welcoming and we were able to communicate between human being, without taking care of the differences.
Danil: Communication in Spanish is easy, above all with gestures! Long live to communication and Peru!


Léo Thévenin


“Vallée de GERE” social center webpage: here