Practice Details

Title of Practice: 1984 – 2010 Socio-educational work by La Kalle Cultural Association in the Puente de Vallecas district: Madrid
Year: 2010
BPTag: Best Practice
Reference Number: ESP109-10
City / Town / Village: Madrid
Region: Europe & Former Soviet Union States
Country: Spain
Has this practice been submitted previously? No
Previous Title:
Address: La Kalle Cultural Association
Street, Javier de Miguel, 92, bloque 1 – local 1
City/Town, Postal Code, 28018 Madrid
Country, SPAIN
Telephone (Country code) (City code) number +34 91.777.28.22
Fax (Country code) (City code) number +34 91.380.22.90
Email addresses. Of contact person: asociación@lakalle.org
Web: www.lakalle.org

Name of Contact Person: Mirian Fernández Ibáñez
Email of Contact Person:

1. La Kalle Cultural Association is a socio-educational experience that was set in 1984 by a group of professionals(educationalists, teachers, psychologists) and residents of Vallecas, concerned about the social, educational, training, employment outlook for the most vulnerable teenagers and young people with difficulties or suffering from social exclusion.

The aim was to launch an educational compensation programme in Vallecas, while working on street-level education with local children and young people with social difficulties or suffering from marginalisation. The latter was a key factor, since the presence and involvement in the neighbourhood by the professionals who launched this initiative was very high. From the start, the educational Project was structured into work areas to address the lacks and needs of the child and youth population of Vallecas in the 1980s. We were also aware of the need for local, everyday networking with public-services workers (social, educational,specialist and cultural services, etc.) and local social networks (residentsand cultural associations, youth groups, etc.).

These two goals — socio-educational work and coordinated development and networking, have been maintained as work areas, and we consider it to have been a major achievement over the years to have continued to develop socio-educational projects in the Vallecas area to the point that we have become consolidated as a benchmark both for social services and for education.

Key Dates: 1986 - Foundation of the entity, associated with the Compensatory Education Programme for teenagers 14–16 not attending school. 1989 – Street Education Programme with young drug addicts in collaboration with J.M. de Puente de Vallecas. Programmes were launched targeting young women, supporting the setting-up of self-employment initiatives (gardening, cleaning and textile crafts). 1991 - Social/employment training Project launched for young people in the process of reinsertion from drug rehabilitation, while consolidating the partnership with the National Employment Institute to provide training for unemployed men and women. 1994 – Setting-up of the insertion company Iroko S.L Mobiliario y Montajes and Madrid Insertion Entities and Enterprises Foundation. 1995 - Publication of the book Educación de Calle: hacia un modelo de intervención en marginación juvenil (“Street Education: Towards an Intervention Model for Youth Marginalisation”), in which the Association attempted to summarise its experience. 2006 – El Local Day Centre reopened, having begun its educational work in 1992 in partnership with the Madrid Institute for Children and Families. 2007 – Setting-up of the entity’s employment department, providing an employment mediation service and job pool. Included in the Incorpora Programme promoted by La Caixa Foundation.
Norminating Organization Details
Name of Organization: Spanish Habitat Committee
Contact Person: José Luis Nicolás Rodrigo
Type of Organization:

Name of OrganizationAddressContact PersonOrganisation TypeType of Support
Ministry of Sanitation and Social PolicyPaseo de la Castellana nº 67 – 6ª planta 28046 Madrid Spain
Telephone: +34 91 596 10 00
Web: www.msps.es

Dª. María Isabel García RuízCentral GovernmentFinancial Support, Technical Support
Consejería de Empleo y MujerC/ Santa Hortensia, 30, 5ª planta 28002 Madrid Spain
Telephone: +34 91 580 22 93
E-mail: calidad.empleoymujer@madrid.org
Web: www.madrid.org

D. José Ignacio Fernández RubioCentral GovernmentFinancial Support, Technical Support
Área de Gobierno de Familia y Asuntos Socialescalle Jose Ortega Y Gasset, 100 28006 Madrid Spain
Telephone: +34 915 881 000
Fax: +34 915 883 249
E-mail: agfamilia@munimadrid.es
Web: www.munimadrid.es
María Concepción Dancausa TraviñoLocal AuthorityFinancial Support, Technical Support
Obra Social La CaixaAv. Diagonal, 621 08028 Barcelona Spain
Telephone: +34 93 404 49 35
Web: www. obrasocial.lacaixa.es

d) Type of Organisation
Others: Social Works
Marc Simón MartínezProfessional AssociationFinancial Support

Children and Youth
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
Poverty Reduction


Situation Before the Initiative Began

The Puente de Vallecas district was seriously affected by drug problems in the 1980s: de-structured families and neighbourhood insecurity  were some of the consequences that the district had to face,together with major stigmatisation. The lack of specific educational and social resources worsened the situation for local people arriving as a result of internal migration.

Establishment of Priorities

The priorities focused on education, with the launch of fan educational-compensation Project proposed and supported by the then Ministry of Education, and on social issues through street education, an initiative supported by the Puente deVallecas Distruct Council, to detect any needs mostly affecting local young people, especially those with drug problems.

Formulation of Objectives And Strategies

The Act of Incorporation in February 1986 included approval of the articles of association setting out the aims of entity. In subsequent amendments, approved by the members’ assembly, the association’s aims were defined as including: 

- Foster social participation by disadvantaged young men and women,

- Implement social-integration and employment projects targeted at disadvantaged people,with individual route maps covering the development of personal matters,professional qualifications and access to employment.

- Strengthen social-economy initiatives by promoting the setting-up of insertion companies.

- Intervene as a priority with women experiencing social difficulties, by promoting equality between men and women and creating a specific women’s department for the purpose.

- Participate in networks working to combat social exclusion.

Mobilisation of Resources

The diversification and complementary nature of the resources and funding agents has been key for our entity to be able to implement the project locally. 

Resources have been mobilised via subsidies from the Spanish Government(Ministry of Health and Social Policy, Ministry of Education, and Ministry ofEmployment and Immigration), the Madrid Regional Government (Department ofEmployment and Women, Department of Health and Social Policy, Department and Family and Social Affairs, Department of Education, Department of Immigration)and the Madrid City Council (Department of Family and Social Services, andDepartment of Economy and Public Participation).

Funding has also been secured from foundations and social organisations of several savings banks (La Caixa,Caja Madrid, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo).

Networking has made it possible to obtain technical resources to develop the initiatives.Examples include the setting up of the Desmárcate marketing enterprise; General Inclusion (promoted by the Madrid Insertion Enterprises Association to open upa market for insertion enterprises’ products and services — www.desmarcate.org); and the launch of the employment-insertion project for students of social-guarantee programmes(promoted by various social entities).


The experience was launched at a time of great concern and awareness among different people, groups and associations living or working in areas with serious social problems, where children, teenagers and young people are the most vulnerable. In parallel, the public authorities began to consider social policy in a more global, compensatory way, which enabled various action programmes to be implemented.

The group of professionals (teachers, educationalists and educators)involved with the neighbourhood who set up the association aim to respond to problems as they arise, devising short-term strategies for compensatory education and street education. Solutions are sought for the problems by networking, with everyone contributing their own experience.

In the late 1990s the Association diversified its areas of action (drug addiction, training and social insertion, intervention with young women) and grew to a size that made it necessary to undertake long-term plans, review its organisational structure and prepare the entity to define its mission and vision.

A period of transition began, when major organisational shortfalls were detected and a lack of consensus regarding the mission of the education project, as well as a longer view, so “experts” were brought in to provide the training and guidance. Finally, a team was set up to lead the entity directly,drawing up the first four-year strategic plan to cover the entity’s organisational structure and review the association and education projects.

In 2007, having assessed the results of the first strategic plan and detected deficiencies, the entity opted to undertake a new in-depth systematisation, Retailing each of the areas to be programmed and assessed. An in-house planning, programming and assessment system was put in place,affecting not only “educational” matters. Since then, funding, general organisation, potential alliances and possible strategies have also been considered as areas that must give results and are susceptible to improvement.

Process management has subsequently been implemented, adapting the systematisation by areas to systematisation by processes, and that is where weare today.

Results Achieved

Over 23 years of working to improve living conditions for young women and men in Vallecas, the following improvements have been achieved in the neighbourhood:

- Meeting spaces, El Local Day Centre, and participation activities for young people promoted by LaKalle: participation in community activities (carnival, young children’s day, intercultural week) and organisation by the young people of activities for the neighbourhood, e.g. House of Horror, Batukada School.

- Setting-up of and participation in the Vallecas Children & Youth Free Time Coordination Unit, which brings together 23 social entities working with local children and young people, focusing particularly on groups in socially disadvantaged situations.

- Team of street educators applying a proven methodology and with over 20 years’ experience.

- Training resource in the carpentry/cabinetmaking trade, offering 60 places a year for socially disadvantaged people.

- Training resource in the retail/distribution trade, offering 60 places a year for women and immigrants.

- Management of Initial Professional Qualification Programmes of the state education system, for carpentry and IT, offering 30 places a year for young people aged 16–21without a school leaver’s certificate.

- Generation of employment and wealth through the insertion enterprise. Since it was set up, 40workers have been hired (63% of them socially disadvantaged)

- Careers and self-employment guidance service, helping 275 unemployed and socially disadvantaged people a year.

- Support for self-employment initiatives by young people’s groups (including Arka Cooperative, Barbol Cooperative, El Vellón and Serikas).

- Support for the launch of the “Needles Textile Workshop”, an enterprise set up by a group of local women in the framework of an insertion/employment programme, with people receiving the minimum insertion income.


With our experience as a social entity we have participated in and contributed towards the approval of new regulatory frameworks to combat exclusion (employment, social and economic), creating new instruments as part of proactive policies. Social entities have become involved as actors in the setting-up of social enterprises with the primary goal of providing access to employment for people who are rejected by the ordinary labour market. This has led to the creation of networks of social entities that insertion entities promote on a local, regional, national and European scale. 

The preparation of social reports as an instrument of transparency for the various actors with whom we are involved: authorities, social entities, insertion enterprises, clients and society in general

Lessons Learned

-It is important for social entities to be well consolidated locally, establishing methods and levels of relationships and collaboration with other entities to develop joint strategies, policy proposals and methodologies and dialogue with local, regional and national political leaders.

- As entities we must apply the relevant strategies in each case to defend an integrated vision and practice that addresses different aspects of the lives of the people with whom we work: employment, training, leisure and free time, intercultural, gender issues, etc.

-The diversification and complementary nature of funds and funding agents has been key for the development of our entity’s project on a local scale.

-We have come to realise the importance of training, the support of expert advisers, etc. to equip our entity with an organisation, planning and assessment system to respond to society’s challenges and demands, and as a strategic investment in order not to lose sight of consistency in the development of our mission, vision and values.

- Over these 20 years we have felt and experienced how the authorities have to some extent instrumentalised us from the beginning, before moving on to the institutionalisation and bureaucratisation of how we operate. This has occurred in the case of many programmes to benefit young people at social risk, and more specifically in the field of prevention, where the figure of the street educator has virtually disappeared.


Submitting an entry for the Dubai International Awards has been an interesting experience for us, when showing our collective journey of more than 20 years. This opportunity has been worth it, inasmuch as it has enabled us to compile aspects of a local experience that could prove to be of use elsewhere.

We relieve that one strong, central, transferrable aspect of our experience worth underlining is the importance of the local and the role of “small” social entities (remembering the concept of “small is beautiful””) when it comes to making a contribution towards achieving a transformation (in a neighbourhood,in people or in a community). Social networks also play a very important role at every level, from the local to the international. And, finally, if as social entities we remain faithful and open to our local circumstances, we can contribute towards the design of social policies and proposals that get to the roots of problems and provide people with made-to-measure solutions. We are living at a time when the role of NGOs is being marketed from certain policies and economic interests, and we believe that it is important for experiences such as ours to become more widely known and come into contact with other realities and experiences.

Next year, in 2011, LaKalle will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, and Dubai has given us an opportunity to contribute our humble experience, which we hope can Spreads, especially next year, to entities and institutions in similar local or regional circumstances to ours, or even — and why not? — Internationally

Related Policies

The educational-compensation classrooms that are now part of the state education system began in Vallecas as an experimental programme by the Ministry of Education in partnership with social entities such as La Kalle.

La Kalle was a Pioneer in the street-education methodology, working with the district council to implement the programme in four neighbourhoods. Over time, the figure of the street educator was incorporated into the local social services’ prevention programmes.

Together with other entities in Madrid with whom we developed social-guarantee programmes, a South-East Madrid Social Entities Platform was set up, opening a process of negotiation with the Ministry of Education to improve resources and recognise these programmes to combat poor performance at school by young people at risk of social exclusion.

The regional Family Department, in the Framework of the IMI programmes, fostered the setting-up of insertion enterprises by social entities such as La Kalle, which set up Iroko S.L Mobiliario y Montajes in 1994. The entities came together as the Madrid Insertion Enterprises Association, achieving the approval by the regional government of Decree 32/2003, which regulates insertion enterprises and establishes development measures for their activities. Subsequently, Act No. 44/2007 was also approved, to regulate insertion enterprises nationally.

Ø Title of Article: AFAMID se integra en el Programa Incorpora de la Obra Social La Caixa
Source Asociación de Empresarios de las Industrias del Mueble, Carpintería y Afines de la Comunidad de Madrid, Noticias AFAMID, nº 39 abril 2009, pág. 16
Ø Title of Article: Luís Buñuel 2
Source Asociación Cultura la Kalle - Mº Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, 20 años de los Centros de Atención a Refugiados de Alcobendas y Vallecas, junio 2007, pág. 11 - 15
Ø Title of Article: Haciendo futuro, La Kalle Cultural Association
Source. Triodos Bank, Revista Triodos, nº 10, invierno 2007, pág.12
Ø Title of Article: La Kalle Cultural Association: 21 años dedicados a la reinserción social de jóvenes de Vallecas.
Source Q Vallecas Villa, nº 9, julio 2005, pág. 18
Ø Title of Article: Alfabetización digital en ocho entidades madrileñas
Source Fundación Esplai, Diario de la Fundación Esplai, nº 2 diciembre 2002, pág. 11
Ø Title of Article: Ex – toxicómanos se hacen empresarios con ayuda europea.
SourceEl País, lunes 10 de enero de 2000, pág. 24
Ø Title of Article: Educación de Calle: Hacia un modelo de intervención en marginación juvenil.
Source La Kalle Cultural Association – Mercedes Arquero, Editorial Popular, 1ª edición: marzo 1995.
Ø Title of Article: Cursos de carpintería, fontanería y electricidad para mujeres desempleadas.
Source Segundamano, 31 de mayo de 1995, pág. 37
Ø Title of Article: Una experiencia desde la iniciativa social.
Source Mercedes Arquero, Nuestra Escuela, diciembre 1993, nº 141, pág. 34
Ø Title of Article: La Kalle crea un taller de capacitación prelaboral en carpintería.
Source Revista Tecnimadera, marzo de 1992, pág. 81

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