La Perla Mexicana

posted: December 28, 2013



In late November I had the great pleasure of conducting a workshop at La Perla Mexicana, a halfway house for drug-addicted women in the the Iztapalapa district of Mexico City.
For 20 women between the ages of 16 and 40 years, La Perla Mexicana is home for a few months, with the hope of getting rid of their addiction there and start rebuilding their lives once they leave.

I met a group of 15 enthusiastic and curious girls who created their self-portraits using objects loaded with ideas and feelings.
When done, each briefly shared her creation and then, what became specially meaningful was that in the course of the following week, the girls continued analyzing their creations in their therapy sessions.
The optimism and the love of life reflected in the self-portraits made us all feel very good and showed, that a person, while making art, brings out inner powers and usually also positiveness.

The special educational angle for me in this workshop was my great group of assistants! 7 young women between 17 and 18, all students in private schools in the city, who came as volunteers and was the first time they visited that neighborhood of the city.

On the way to the workshop, some small anxiety could be felt in our van driving through the heavy traffic of mexico DF, yet all of that disappeared when we arrived to La Perla Mexicana and immediately started organizing the materials and tables. The connection between the two groups of young women, who live such different lives despite being just an hour away was immediate and full of exceptional affection. Some of the visitors helped with the technical needs while others mingled with the group and created their own self-portrait.

It was a pleasure to see little groups that were formed and intimate conversations that took place .

As we were getting back in the van and getting ready to leave and go back to the other side of town, I asked the 7 women : "Who wants to return here?" and all in unison shouted "YO!" 

I want to thank The Jewish Agency of Mexico (special thanks to Mauricio Friedman) who organized and sponsored the workshop through a collaboration with the NGO Centro Accion.


Here are some pictures of the workshop.






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