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Parchese a los populares. Lado B de la Candelaria
“la otra historia de Bogotá” (“the other history of Bogota”)
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The Parchese a los Populares is an organization that has helped the youth of a traditionally troubled neighborhood – La Candelaria in Bogota, Colombia – find opportunities through tourism. Located in a historic part of the city, tourists used to have difficulty visiting the area or getting to know the people who lived there due to stigma. At the same time, the local residents reaped none of the rewards of tourism despite their proximity to the places tourists visited. This project has encouraged young people to find meaningful opportunities rather than turn towards delinquency. Now, they share their culture by making hip-hop music and displaying graffiti, and give tours where their stories are placed front and center. This has allowed the young people of La Candelaria meaningful work and self-sufficiency, and trickled into other benefits throughout the community that will be passed down to future generations.
Travelers who visit the area get a unique experience off the beaten path. Along with enjoying live music and lunch in a family home, they get an authentic glimpse at life in La Candelaria, and hear inspiring, first-hand accounts of the resilience of these young people.
VSocial has been supporting this project since 2018. Donations of thousands of euros have allowed the young people of La Candelaria to implement new ideas, such as creating a T-shirt company to generate more income. Financing infrastructure, holding training workshops, and linking Parchese a los Populares with other VSocial projects ensures that they have a stable foundation to depend on income from tourism and pursue other avenues towards self-sufficiency.
Being able to generate income through tourism has given the young people of La Candelaria an alternative to a life associated with crime. Not only that, but through hip-hop and graffiti they are given positive forms of self-expression and are able to transform the reputation of where they live. They learn that their talents are valued and a means towards success. The effect has been exponential. More than 10 families have directly benefited from the organization, along with several more who sell food and souvenirs to visitors. A hip-hop school has brought more young people into the project. These young people have come to be seen as role models in their neighborhood. Several have entered university or dedicated themselves to social work. The project has been recognized with prizes and is seen as a benchmark for urban community tourism in Colombia and abroad.