As we know, Medellín has moved forward a great distance in recent years, bringing the city and people here closer and towards a more equal society.
This only adds to the appeal of what has now become one of Latin Americas most loved travel destinations. But as everyone who has been here knows, there is still a long way to go to create the ideal city.
Thankfully examples of social change, to create this ideal, can be seen every day.
This only adds to the possibilities of what Medellín could be in the future. We already love it today, and the potential for tomorrow is infinite!
The most obvious signs of the cities improvement were seen with the construction of the metro cable and numerous public spaces such as the Biblioteca España de Medellín throughout the 2000’s.
Finally, the constant thoughts of drugs and violence have left, and in its place has come the knowledge of amazing people, a perfect climate and much, much more.
However all this does not mask what still needs to be done to move closer to where the city wants and needs to be.
Thankfully there are plenty of people aware of this and taking action each day.
One major problem is the inequality and distance between communities within the city.
For example, areas such as Comuna 14 (El Poblado) are filled with prosperity whilst in Comuna 13 (San Javier), the opportunities have traditionally been more limited.
Though this does not mean the people in Comuna 13 have any less right to these opportunities, and one NGO, Fundacion Pazamanos is tackling these issues head on.
Using arts, photography and participatory work within the community one can demonstrate to “la gente” that they can dream what they want, to achieve the best one can in life.
Through photo campaigns and a number of workshops in the neighborhood, a project was created to inspire the visions that one has a right to, whilst encouraging cultural transformations to promote increased coexistence and break invisible gaps in the city.
13 heroes of the community were also promoted to show how, from wherever you have come in life, with the right mind and attitude, it is possible to achieve incredible things.
“El Perro” is just one example of these heroes. An expert graffiti artist with sponsored work across the city, who teaches numerous children the same art, inspiring dreams.
They might not be heroes in the image of Falcao, but to a local community, looking for role models, his story is just as inspirational.
These are just two small examples of activities that continue to occur across the city each day that create the change that everyone here truly desires.
It also demonstrates there is still much more of the city to see and understand past the major tourist areas of El Poblado and Laureles.
With this in mind, one can be sure that every year, Medellín is only going to develop itself in to a more interesting and desirable place to visit than it is today.
But far more importantly, that everyone within the city, be it Paisa’s to travellers, will enjoy a more equal and vibrant place, to share, understand and enjoy.
The place we have all grown to love, is still moving forwards.
To understand more and support the work of Fundacion Pazamanos please visit http://www.fundacionpazamanos.org
About the Author: Tom Jenkins has been a traveller his whole life having travelled extensively across the 6 major continents of the world. He has now settled down in Medellin and works for the NGO, Fundacion Pazamanos. To understand more and support the work of Fundacion Pazamanos please visit http://www.fundacionpazamanos.org
For all those who liked the sound of our work, plaese help us take it to a new level and support us complete tha amzing initiative HÉROES 13. All the info is in the following CrowdFunding link and it will make a big difference to Comuna 13 and Medellin as a whole
The Pazamanos Tem