A community without leaders, a lack of interest from local residents in taking care of their neighborhood, many abandoned spaces - the central park, the municipal hall, the sports fields - occupied by outsiders who were using them for drugs and alcohol.
This was the situation five years ago in the working-class, self-managed district of Villa El Salvador, south of Lima. This reality was the starting point for action by young YCW members, who involved residents in reclaiming the area, transforming the neighborhood where they lived and changing the lives of young workers and community members.
The process of action began after an in-depth reflection by the Lima YCW on the problems of young people and the reality of the community.
To achieve its objectives, the YCW encouraged the protagonism of the community's young workers, organized residents of all ages, and succeeded in coordinating with various strategic players (area officials, municipality, neighborhood council, urban community, Parcha collective, cultural organizations). As a result, green spaces and recreational areas have been created for the community's children, with a concrete plan to continue building sidewalks and alleys.
Through this re-communalization initiative, the YCW has also raised residents' awareness of the need to protect Mother Earth, labor rights, gender equality and community organization as an important factor for change in the neighborhood.
It holds regular meetings with the community and strategic stakeholders and organizes activities to mark holidays such as Mother's Day, Father's Day and Christmas. It organizes workshops and virtual discussions on action-related issues and other topics of national interest.
It runs awareness-raising workshops with community residents to encourage them to take care of their environment. It organizes the painting of murals with young people and community residents to care for public spaces.
YCW members plant vegetable gardens in their yards and encourage other neighbors to do the same.
Villa El Salvador's action is partnered by numerous organizations in southern Lima working in the fields of art, living well, solidarity economy and other issues of national interest.
The Lima YCW does not intend to stop there: its projects include the setting-up of an irrigation system for the park, hydroponic gardens for families, community vegetable gardens and the re-communalization of another neighborhood (Manchay Alto - Pachacámac).
Through its action, the Lima YCW has succeeded in promoting youth protagonism, residents are aware that the space belongs to them and they are organizing themselves, there is greater individual responsibility in the maintenance and surveillance of spaces, as well as greater solidarity and empathy between residents.
Thanks to the organization of the residents of the Villa El Salvador community and a great deal of effort, it has been possible, after 35 years, to build alleys, sidewalks and a central park with playgrounds for children. In other words, the action provides better living conditions and spaces for current and future generations, but it is also necessary to continue working to reclaim public spaces to ensure the community's safety.