New Humanity Movement

Social Harmony and Art

LandscapeBogota 

 

 

In one of the most problematic neighborhood of Bogota, Colombia, for more than thirty years, the community has carried out a social and cultural renewal project,  through a wide range of aid initiatives to the poor, contributing to the redemption of all the neighborhood.

Paolo Balduzzi


Bogota, Colombia's capital: a cosmopolitan and ever growing city, with its seven million inhabitants. The city lies on a plateau over 2600 meters above the sea level, near the Andes.
Merced Sur is one of its 20 districts, located south east in a mountainous area of irregular topography.

The living conditions in this neighborhood are very critical, due to the lack of basic infrastructure. After more than three decades, and as a result of a strong partnership among the residents themselves, many families have built their houses, gradually getting some public services for the district. Despite this, many areas still lack sewers, the roads are still dirt tracks. Moreover the district is built on slopes, and roads are linked by various ladders. Even the houses are built without adequate structural foundation, and the employment status of the population is still quite precarious, with no short-term prospects of economic progress or personal development. For most inhabitants the only source of labor is the manufacture of handmade bricks, using clay on the spot. That's why, over time, the neighborhood took the name "Los Chircales (brickmakers)”.

Even from the social perspective there are a lot of problems: there is a high rate of violence in the home, alcoholism and drug abuses are prevalent in boys too. Even if it is more than 30 years old, the districy community is still fighting in the struggle for daily survival.

To respond to this situation, the Social Centre “Unity” was established in 1981 with the specific aim of promoting integral processes of help and support to the local residents, in the prospect of universal fraternity. The main objective is training a generation of men and women capable of being active players in a more dignified life, through the exercise of human values, such as solidarity, fraternity, tolerance, respect, personal responsibility with regards to community processes.

stradaBogotaBack in 1978 some members of the community that in Colombia live the ideal of fraternity, got in touch with some of the families of the neighborhood, offering them the first basic assistance and collaboration services. Thanks to this kind of approach, things got better and better, notwithstanding the growing needs.

The opening of the Social Centre was a natural consequence of all the activities previously offered and during all these years has seen a costant growth, offering people educational and health services, becoming in such a way a sure reference point for the whole neighborhood, where people with all kind of needs naturally converge.

In these 30-year activity, we see that through this centre social, educational and cultural processes are promoted, which strengthen the community links, and at the same time, form social actors, whose conscience is “living for the others, living the others”.

We can say that, little by little, a strong neighborhood community is being born, thanks to the work of its leaders, all involved in a free, responsible, and integral self-management process.


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