Zumba, pinwheels for peace, hip-hop and more - this is how we celebrated International Peace Day at Nukanti´s community centre in Cazucá, Colombia. On September 20th we gathered for a day full of activities where we could dance, learn, laugh and cook together, and thus really feel it is possible to live in a community, help and inspire each other, share what we know and always learn something new.
Last month Nukanti resumed the free yoga and dance classes in the community centre in Cazucá, on the outskirts of Bogotá, every Friday between 10 a.m. and 12 m. The classes have had big success among women in the community as they offer them an accessible sport activity to help overcome stress in their everyday lives. The group currently consists of about 10 women and girls from the community who learn about yoga and zumba under the tutoring of our volunteer Theodora Stankova.
As you know Nukanti is currently holding an extensive fundraising campaign for the Playing for Freedom capoeira program in Bogotá, Colombia, which includes an online crowdfunding campaign as well as various events in different parts of the world. As part of the campaign our founder and executive director Niousha Roshani, who together with fellow capoeirista Cristhian Casallas started the program in 2008, organized an event in Hong Kong on August 21st. The event included dancing, drumming and capoeira among other activities, and was highly successful with an impressive total raised of HK$ 7,300 / US$ 940. A big Thank You to all those who assisted and supported a good cause while having a lot of fun!
This month eight young women from Nukanti´s flagship program Playing for Freedom took part in the 2nd National Gathering of Female Capoeiristas which was held on August 16 in Bogotá, Colombia. The aim of the gathering was to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of women inclusion in the capoeira circles in the country, and to provide a space for female capoeiristas to exchange practical knowledge and experience.
After a month of volunteering with Nukanti in La Celia, a village in Colombia's beautiful coffee region, I'm going at full speed with the bilingualism project and I'm starting to feel grounded with the community. I can hardly walk around without being stopped every few metres. Students always want to say “Hi” and the younger ones like to run after me, asking me to translate various Spanish words in English. Up and down the main street, a stream of “Hello”, “Profe”, “Teacher” or “Veronica” follows me all day long. Although I'm not technically a teacher it feels wonderful to be recognized and appreciated.
Admittedly, albinism is something that I have never given much thought to. I was actually quite surprised when I saw it appear as a workshop title amongst other issues during our week in Valencia discussing Human Rights. Yes, I knew what the condition was, I've even met people with the condition before. However, these people I have met... I'd never considered their lives to be much different to my own. Their skin, hair and general appearance was different, but I could never imagine it hindering their daily lives.
Nukanti Foundation held it's first Human Rights, European Citizenship and Intercultural Exchange to take part in the project “Youth and Human Rights”, funded through the European Commission. The project is organized and hosted by Fundación por los Derechos Humanos 10.12.48 (Spain), in cooperation with Nukanti (UK) and Tiwtmin Tiwtmin Association (Morocco).
Niousha Roshani, Nukanti Foundation's Founders recent trip to Bogota and Cali meeting with the peacebuilders and youth we work with. From plastic bottle houses to Capoeira and insights and reflections from the impact the programmes deliver.
Insight into being an intern on the ground with Nukanti Foundation, hear from Philipp Zwehl about the Weaving Cazuca and Capoeira projects
Teaching English in Colombia – and Learning about Life
Based in Southampton (UK), Alliants - a technology solutions company driving better customer experiences for the brands they serve. On the weekend of 7-9 February 2014, it hosted the local meeting for #Hack4Good. Over 48 sleepless hours, the team from Alliants collaborated with two nonprofits, Nukanti and a local charity known as Learning through Landscapes, for whom the team designed apps geared towards motivating kids to go outdoors and get away from their screens.
NukantiShop is a bridge between artisans from all over the globe and the world market, creating opportunities for fair trade, using recycled and eco-friendly materials, and investing back into social programs for children. Through your purchase, you can impact the lives of many artisans and children we work with!
It’s time for me to go. It’s time for me to say good bye. It’s a sad time!
It doesn’t feel like it’s been almost five months since I first saw the mountains of Colombia and the peaks of Cerro Batero and Gobia guarding the lives of all Quinchienos from above. These five months have been busy with learning, exploring and, in the same time, teaching and sharing experiences. It’s a mutual process. Together with the locals we influenced the life of each other in some ways.
After a few months living and working in Colombia finally we took some time off and travelled to the North first and then to the South a bit. And as a result we are even more in love with this country. Colombia is amazing! Okay, so here are the details:
Holiday and festive season in Colombia!
Colombians are religious. I knew this before but Semana Santa still surprised me. This life stopped in Quinchia for a week and religious people spent the days celebrating, praying, and perhaps deepening their beliefs. Also, this week the local secondary school celebrated its 50th anniversary. For these two reasons there were lots of things happening in town and Quinchia was energizing.
‘The only risk is that you stay’ – says the slogan of the official travel guide of Colombia. And after two months in this country I’m realising how true it is. I arrived here with knowing not much else but the general stereotypes of this country – the sea, dancing and the FARC. Since then, my view has taken a 180 degree turn. Colombia is so much more! Amazing nature, rich culture and the kindest people in the world – and also so much to be done socially, economically as well as politically.
Quinchia, my home and workplace in the middle of the coffee region of Colombia, offers great coffee, sunshine most of the days and beautiful tracks to climb on the surrounding mountains. But it also has a large displaced population, high unemployment and declining health rates. Just a few years ago Quinchia was a conflict zone. Now it’s calm and safe but still dealing with the aftermath of the conflict. The conflict is still in the people’s minds and is in their memories although it is not spoken about every day.
The project, initiated by the Nukanti Foundation, an international non-governmental organization advocating for children’s rights in conflict zones, and funded by the Colombian government, involved teaching English at a school in Colombia’s coffee triangle.
“Tell us about New York.”
“What do you want to know?”
This conversation during one of Guatica’s evening community classes prompted a one-hour viewing session of my archived photos a few weeks later. With my hard drive in tow, I presented them with over fifty folders of photos from my experiences over the past five years. To reduce the time, they chose two: “California: L.A.” (a week-long trip to visit a best friend on my way home from teaching in China for a year) and “NYC: Aug-Dec 2011” (during my master’s program in New York City).
“Aw, how amazing! I want to go there.”
A student in ninth grade recently reacted this way after researching France for English Day.
The classes at Colegio Maria Reina are preparing for English Day on November 14th. On this day, each class in grades six through eleven – thirteen classes of over 300 students in total – will present a country in the form of a travel agency in the morning and an artistic cultural presentation in the afternoon. The countries represented will be Canada, England, France, Ireland, USA, Japan, Brazil, and five cities of Colombia (for the younger classes).
NukanTrip provides you with a distinct way of traveling with cultural immersions through direct constant interaction with locals in their communities who will teach you about their lifestyle, their food, music, dance and other artistic manisfestations.