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On Saturday January 23rd, the Teen Center hosted an intercambio, or exchange, with a group of teenagers from Villa el Salvador, Peru. They participated in Voces de la Juventud (Voices of Youth), a Building Dignity youth leadership program.

A community development organization in Villa el Salvador, Building Dignity provides community education, empowers local leaders, and supports neighborhood-led development in marginalized areas. Villa el Salvador is located in the southern part of Lima, and like Huaycán, is another pueblo joven that originally sprung up from informal settlements in the 1970s-1990s.

The Voces de la Juventud teenagers used the theme of leadership to facilitate an informative and fun workshop for the LLI members. The session began with a fun ice-breaker, where each person was able to introduce themselves by shouting out their names and sharing a favorite memory from their time at their respective organizations.

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The students then divided themselves into small groups that facilitated discussions and debates about different types of leaders, and what it takes to be one. The talks were followed by a presentation from the young individuals; through skits and songs they were able to represent what they believed showcased the perseverance of a good leader. With the help of the teenagers, the LLI teens learned that the traits of a leader weren’t only present in those with authority, but in ourselves, and young people living everyday lives. A thorough debrief of the presentations allowed students to reflect on what surprised them and what they had learned, and the exchange closed with another fun activity with everyone involved.

We are so grateful to Building Dignity and the teens of Voces de la Juventud for taking the time to come to Light and Leadership and Huaycán and facilitate the workshop. As we begin our own leadership program at Teens Without Limits in March, we hope in the future to be able to return the exchange and plan a visit of our own jóvenes to Villa el Salvador.

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