Promoting Social Inclusion Through Music in Argentina

December 20, 2012


A group of kids enjoy making music while learning about their rights.

MINU Civil Association

  • The song "Juan del colectivo" is the result of a project involving 150 young children to raise awareness of their rights.
  • The piece was composed by a group of kids from poor areas in Buenos Aires and recorded by the band “Julio y Agosto”.
  • It was the result of work done by MINU Civil Association, one of the winners of the "Communities with Voice" contest organized by the World Bank

Over the course of one year, 150 young boys and girls from different areas of Buenos Aires practiced composing, singing, playing different instruments, and at the same time, discussed, interpreted and learnt about several rights: free expression, identity, gender equality, health and jobs.

The activity was carried out by MINU Civil Association, one of the NGOs who won the "Communities with Voice" contest promoted by the World Bank. "The project Put your Rights to Music was a duel challenge because it was the first time we had used Art as a transformation tool and it also was an extra-curricular activity," says Martín Galanternik, Director of the organization.

The initiative included young people aged between 9 and 18 years old and it took place in five locations: Holy Family home residency in Del Viso, the soup kitchen in slum 1-11-14 in Bajo Flores, Freedom Neighborhood Center in Hurlingham, Renunciation Club of Dock Sud, in Avellaneda, and School No. 20 in Villa Lugano.

"The idea was to take samples of what they are listening to, and through interactive workshops, show them that music has a message and content which may or may not recognize your rights", adds Galanternik. Towards the end of the workshop, the participants wrote a song and recorded it digitally.

" The project Put Music to your Rights was a duel challenge because it was the first time we had used Art as a transformation tool and it also was an extra-curricular activity. "

Martín Galanternik

MINU Civil Association Director

One song, many voices

After completing the workshops, the groups all gathered for a big event that took place at the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas, where they had the opportunity to work with Santiago Vázquez, Founder of the renowned percussion group “La Bomba de Tiempo”.

That day Juan del colectivo (or "John from the bus") was chosen by the majority as the song to be recorded by a professional band. The song tells Juan’s story of discrimination and was written and composed by Mauro Morel, Gastón López and Leandro López, members of the "Renunciation Club," a sport and social center in Dock Sud.

"I realized how powerful music is. I would like to return to the Avellaneda Music School to continue studying," admitted Morel, one of the song’s composers.

Juan del colectivo was later recorded by the indie-folk band “Julio y Agosto”, who gave a it their own unique touch thanks to their musical arrangements.

"It is an achievement for the boys to have had their song recorded by a well-known band, and to feel that their message has the ability to go further," says Galanternik, who uses the song as his ringtone.

"Put your Rights to Music" now continues with the support of the Ministry of Social Development of the City of Buenos Aires. In last few months, they have been working with the School of Music in Villa Lugano and are planning eight more workshops in community centers for 2013.