Salvador playing the game with children

The project Escuelas y comunidades inclusivas promotes community-building and the prevention of violence in Chalatenango, a rural area heavily harmed during the civil war in El Salvador. 

Activities in schools have a robust theoretical basis, connecting rules, compliant behavior, and restorative responses to wrongdoing to democracy, human rights, fundamental liberties. Pivotal is the relationship with the other(s). To put theory into practice, and make practice become the pupils’ experience, a board game has been designed. 

Guido Bertagna – the  REstARTIST (!) – has created and painted the drawings. Similar to the Game of the Goose, the players (individuals or teams) move pieces around the track of 63 squares by rolling dices. But moving, in this game, is to leave for a journey towards an unknown land, the land where the other(s) live. There is a map, of course: it shows the twisted roads of feelings, prejudice, fears, joy one walks towards the encounter.

Scroll down to watch the recordings of the live conversation on 1 December 2020 with Guido and colleagues about the playful game and the serious issues it addresses. The conversation was carried out in both English and Spanish on Zoom.

Guido’s unique drawings trigger imagination, memory, critical thinking; they give the floor to unthinkable, and otherwise unspeakable, steps each one of us has to accomplish to reach out to others.

Guido and Claudia

Guido Bertagna, artist and restorative practitioner, and Claudia Mazzucato, criminal law scholar at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and restorative practitioner, together with Annalisa Zamburlini and Fabrizio Maniscalco, young social workers, are involved in the project "Escuelas y comunidades inclusivas" in El Salvador led by the Italian NGO Soleterre and funded by the Italian Agency for Development and Cooperation (AICS). Ana Conception Castillo, Stefano Nespoli, and Valentina Valfrè are the project coordinators from Soleterre.

In the frame of a national education policy to ensure a culture of peace and coexistence (Política National para la Convivencia Escolar y Cultura de Paz), the project disseminates a culture of lawfulness and restorative practices in schools, aiming at ‘schools free from violence’ (Escluela Libre de Violencia) in a country where the very Ministry of Education openly states that violence is a historical, structural and cultural problem strongly affecting the Salvadoran society as a whole, including families and schools.

Guido, Claudia, Annalisa and Fabrizio’s work in the project is twofold: help draft school regulations - or coexistence plans (pan de convivencia), and disseminate ways to strengthen and support peaceful relationships. The trainers are well aware of what the issue of discovering a land means in (Central) America. T. Todorov’s masterpiece The Conquest of America. The Question of the Other is a guiding tool: discovery, conquest, confrontation, violence, knowledge, love are at the heart of the ‘question of the other’