Children from rural communities taught to appreciate their culture
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
A prehendiendo mi cultura (“Aprehendiendo” (seizing) or “Aprendiendo” (learning) My Culture) is a program that teaches children in the rural communities of San Miguel to value and spread their cultural identity. This year, more than 1,000 children will visit four of the most important cultural centers in the city.
The pilot program, which emerged in 2013, was the idea of several cultural, educational and nonprofit institutions. That year, more than 600 children were brought to cultural centers such as the Toy Museum, Allende’s house and museum, House of the Mayorazgo of La Canal and Cultural Center Ignacio Ramírez el Nigromante.
City historian Graciela Cruz said that through AMC children learn the history of their city and strengthen their identities. The goal of the organization is to help children be part of their culture and city. In San Miguel, said Cruz, it seems that, because of bad publicity, culture is only for the privileged classes. Though children may want to be part of the culture, they feel excluded.
Through AMC, the children are trained to feel that they are part of the city “because it belongs to them,” said Cruz. Once the children learn about the history they can feel that they have rights and obligations to take care of the tangible and intangible heritage of San Miguel de Allende.
One of the conditions for valuing and protecting the intangible and tangible cultural heritage of a city is a gradual educational program that will allow us to know what we have. If we do not know that, we cannot show it to the world,” remarked Cruz.
Marcela Rodríguez, coordinator of educational services at the Casa del Mayorazgo de la Canal, said that to have a functional program they must communicate with principals of rural schools, who are invited to participate with their students on the tour. If they accept, the students’ parents must pay for transportation to the Jardín Principal. There the students are divided into small groups to make simultaneous visits to the four cultural centers.
On the streets, the children receive basic information about the most iconic buildings in the city from trained high-school students, who also lead the visits to the museums. The tour ends at Centro Cultural el Nigromante, where the students have lunch provided by organizations such as Penzi Bodas, Association of Hotels, Jóvenes Sanmiguelenses and Bové, among others.
To become involved in this program, contact the representatives in the cultural centers.