En Belen is a residential Gesundheit Global Outreach community health project working with the community of Pueblo Libre, Belen, in Iquitos, Peru. Our team consists of professionals in art and healthcare whose goal is to maintain a truly collaborative relationship with the community of Belen.
This project originates from the Festival of Belen which celebrated its 11th year in Belen. Since May of 2015, En Belen has maintained a permanent presence in the community. Through this bond we have developed community activities, health care programs, and workshops which prioritize the needs, wishes, and dreams of Belen.
Our principal method utilizes the theatrical role of the clown for its power to open channels of communication in an atmosphere of affection, empathy and happiness. The clown allows us to relate horizontally to each other, inviting us to create a new way of working together in community. Being together in day-to-day life, the clown creates bonds of mutual trust, opening the possibility of engendering friendships, creating space for mutual exchange, growing, and learning together.
We use other tools such as music, visual arts, literature, and dance because we believe in social transformation through art and we see its results daily. All these tools awakened the capacity of the imagination and of dreaming, but it also of reflecting and processing the experiences in another way, of deepening each person’s experience, of providing and amplifying the possibilities of future change.
We believe that small actions will gradually transform community, day to day, person to person.
Established ties with community based on trust, respect, and love
Develop understanding of the needs problems and priorities of the community and put all our tools at their disposal
Create spaces that invite reflection and critical thinking in order to contribute to the process of empowerment of the community
Stimulate the exploration of the experiences and dreams in pursuit of the dignity and beauty of each human being