MONTEVIDEO – A social project in Montevideo, where half of Uruguay’s 3.4 million inhabitants live, is using art and culture to make the homeless and their problems visible to others in the country, and for that purpose has organized an event this Saturday to give a festive welcome to the Southern Hemisphere winter.
“The idea is to throw a party for the beginning of winter that makes visible the problems of the poor from a human right’s point of view,” Walter Ferreira, a coordinator of the Urban Cultural Center that promotes the project, told EFE.
Montevideo is estimated to have around 1,600 homeless people, who, with the coming of winter and freezing temperatures, crowd into the available shelters with their usual “fears and anxieties,” Ferreira said.
The project, which was developed in the Uruguayan capital where music, dance and circus costumes provided its festive air, continues to use art and culture as a way of integrating its poorest citizens.
Ferreira noted that acts like this “help people pass through the processes of integration and creativity, which has a way of emancipating them from their situation of poverty,” in which the lack shelter or food tends to be linked to other problems, like drug addiction and mental disturbances.
The “winter fest” won the attention of some 100 people who were going through the area and decided to join in the dances and festivities of the project, in which the stars of the show were the homeless, who chiefly participated by singing to the public.
Ferreira noted that the social program in which he takes part also offers theater, dance and music workshops for the homeless, to whom it offers to possibility of presenting their art in different spaces.