Earlier this summer, in June, 25 students from various universities in the United States participated in the program called Special Projects: Sustainability in the Developing World, in collaboration with the BASIC Initiative. They worked on a project for the rehabilitation of a community library in one of Buenos Aires “villas” called the Piletones. One of the leading paper of the city, Clarin – Sociedad, wrote an article on the work of the design and architecture students and their involvement in the program.
Ricardo Haro, a RISD Interior Architecture student (MIA 2012) was quoted several times by the paper. He talked about his first impressions and first contact then his involvement with the community as well as his work in the “villa”.
Here is an excerpt from the article, translated from Spanish:
[…] Ricardo Haro is 26 years and is Mexican. He studies interior architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and explains that the Piletones’ project spans over five years. “First we came and tried to gain the trust of the community and let people know what we could do in the neighborhood,” he says, books in hand, on the redesign that made the community library “Betting on the Future.”
Haro, […] recognizes that while there are many gaps in the neighborhood, he expected to meet “with a community worse off.” The reality of life in Los Piletones “was not a shock” to him. He has been in many villages of Mexico. “The difference is the origin of the people.” Here most are Bolivians, Paraguayans, Peruvians and Argentinians.
“At first, the kids looked at us, bothered,” says Haro. “Who are you and what are you doing here,” he said. “Now they greet us very well and do not see us as strangers anymore.” “We also had the opportunity to gain some experience. But we all came here because we wanted to help,” he says.
Jaime Andrés Benítez Cuartas, “Son estudiantes extranjeros y vinieron a ayudar en las villas,” Sociedad, August 17, 2011, http://www.clarin.com/sociedad/estudiantes-extranjeros-vinieron-ayudar-villas_0_536946583.html
To read more of the article in Spanish follow the link below:
Sociedad article about the BASIC Initiative.