Editor’s Note: The following is a guest contribution from Camilo Uribe of Medellín City Services.
For every tour sold in 2015, the Medellín City Services® Foundation has saved one dollar to go toward a social project in Comuna 13. 100 percent of the money saved were destined for a fantastic project which took five weeks to complete.
After years of leading peaceful tours of this picturesque neighborhood in western Medellín, our staff has earned recognition from the community, which has made it possible to run our tours.
In an effort to give back to the community, Medellin City Services® was able to give to one family in need for building materials, and more specifically, a rooftop for their home.
In this case, it was John Alexander Serna, also known as “Shota,” who was the beneficiary of the first of many rooftop donations planned in the area.
Shota’s family grew up in the community and has been victim of the many conflicts that have hurt the neighborhood.
After the challenges of the early 2000s, Shota has acted as an ambassador for the area and welcomes visitors from all over the world on a daily basis. He’s been hired by the government as a tour guide, and despite language barriers, he gets his point across regardless of tourists’ nationalities.
On his days off, Shota spends time with kids in the community painting outstanding murals and graffiti filled with life and vivid colors in this cozy slum known as Comuna 13.
In his early 20’s, Shota is now ready to be a father of a healthy baby, and that is one of the reasons why Medellin City Services looked at Shota as a great beneficiary of this rewarding social project that donates a rooftop for him and his new family.
As long as tours are being sold during in the coming years, the Medellin City Services Foundation will gladly continue saving one dollar out of every tour to improve the quality of life for the residents at Comuna 13.
Hopefully, this year, together, we will be able to give one or more families in need with the proper support to make a positive impact in their lives and improve their living standards.
About the Author: Story and photos by Camilo Uribe of Medellín City Services.