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.
To the Inga people of Colombia’s Amazon, “Nukanti” means us. We at Nukanti believe that by helping people connect to each other and understand the power of us we build stronger communities and create a world of us’s where peace and social justice are not just words.
In Bogotá, Colombia Nukanti works in two of the most populated slums, Ciudad Bolívar and Cazucá, which are also the most affected by poverty and the ongoing armed conflict in the country. These areas were originally populated by forcibly displaced families so there is usually very little social bonding and a limited sense of community. Youth living in these sectors of the city are exposed on a daily basis to violence, both in the streets and at home, drug usage, recruitment from armed groups, child prostitution, limited educational and employment opportunities.
This is why in 2011 Nukanti built the community center in the neighborhood Altos del pino in Cazucá which has become a place of learning, exchange and integration for the community. There Nukanti and other partner organizations hold various activities for children, youth and women, such as music classes, breakdance, yoga and zumba, reading activities, and more. We also lend the space to local organizations which do work in benefit of the community.
Our celebration of Peace Day 2015 started off with a quick zumba class to warm up for the other activities. Everyone danced and laughed together under the rhythm of Limbo, accompanied by our volunteer Theodora Stankova and some of the regular participants in the yoga and zumba classes that are held in the community center every Friday. The activity was in support of the international campaign One Day One Dance by the Peace One Day movement.
Then we continued with a workshop to make Pinwheels for Peace, an international initiative aimed at creating a global visual statement about peace. The children made colorful pinwheels and wrote or drew their messages for peace on them so the wind carries them away all over the world. We even had some creative little ones who came up with innovative dog-shaped designs!
For lunch we had a delicious sancocho, traditional Colombian soup, prepared by Nohora Guerrero, Nukanti´s coordinator in Cazucá, and some of the women from the community. A big Thank You to the cooking team! After the activities in the morning the meal was more than needed and well deserved.
After lunch we continued with a workshop by our friends and partners from local youth project Proyecto Escape which included a relaxation, some teambuilding activities and a reflection on hopes and expectations about the future. We finished off the day with a presentation by local rappers from Proyecto Escape, which naturally turned into a workshop for the children who had the chance to learn from the performers and improvize themselves.
A big Thank You to everyone who made this day possible! More pictures from the event can be seen here.