María Nazaret and Jesús Enrique don’t know eachother personally, but they both have something in common: they have been beneffitted by the Barcelona Solidaria program; the former as a homeless person, and the latter as a farmer in the Santa Elena township. They are part of the 13 programs and projects of our city that, since 2020, have recieves about 1,1 million euros from international cooperation.
Jesús Enrique is one of the 25 food producers of the Rutas de Siembra project that seeks to strengthen plot productivity, promote the circular economy and provide associative, community, business and environmental support.
25 farmers from Santa Elena benefit from the cooperation with Barcelona for production, marketing and environmental awareness in food cultivation.
His farm is located near the Arví Metrocable station, a route well known by thousands of tourists that each weekend, come to this township to experience nature at its finest. “Don Jesus’s Farm” as known by most of his neighbors, is filled with color, thanks to all the fruit and vegetables sowed there. Tomatos of all shapes, colors and sizes, lettuce, rosemary kale and cabbage are just some of the products grown by this kind and friendly man.
“The Rutas de Siembra project has helped us with marketing, they’ve provided training sessions on selling, focused on tourism and agriculture, to attend the community’s needs and produce cleanly and organically” says Jesús when reffering to this project that has access to more than 500 million pesos in cooperation resources managed by the NGO “Antioqueños Unidos in Catalonia for Colombia” and executed by Comfenalco.
For Maryori Londoño, Township manager of Medellín, “From the Management we’ve helped with guarantees as well as with the achievement and accompaniment of the producers that this project has helped. Through Rutas de Siembra, it has been possible to train and educate 25 producers located around the Comfenalco Hotel and its surrounding area, and in this process they’ve also been provided with the creation of access routes to commercialize their products in the Arví market and with the hotel also buying their products”.
María Nazaret, is part of another project benefitted from cooperation with Barcelona. She is a homeless woman that, alongside of her dog, Lulo, who she considers her child, lives paralel to the Medellín River in the Minorista sector of the city. Each weekend, they’re visited by workers for the Surgir Corporation, that provide them with toiletry kits, as well as with information and education regarding personal care and wellbeing, to reduce damaged caused by drug consumption; but most improtantly, they provide them with a space where they can be heard.
The Barcelona ABD foundation and the Surgir Corporation, with the support of the MAyor’s office of Medellín, has retaken the Listening Centers project, to strengthen the work focused on harm reduction from drug consumption through practices that can help the homeless to take awareness of their health.
Walking through the are surrounding the river, where hundreds of people affected by homelessness live, is now a task being accompanied by the international community, who consider that a homeless person is an important part of society are therefore, we must work towards their wellbeing, understand the path that led them to where they are and, most importantly, dignify their day to day lives.
More than 500 homeless inhabitants of Medellin have been accompanied by professionals that are helping them mitigate damage caused by drug consumption.
For Jonathan Ballesteros, director of Local and International Relations of the ACI Medellin “During the validity of the Medellin Futuro Development Plan, the ACI Medellin in alliance with other secretariats and entities of the local government have managed and supported 13 projects that have a direct impact on social and rural development strategies; these projects add up to 1.1 million euros and it is a clear sign that Medellín is one of the great centers of international cooperation in Latin America”.
Since 2006, Medellín has addep up 1,8 million euros in cooperation with Barcelona, with projects focused on culture, urban planning, infants, youth and women, among others.
This shows clear evidence that the relationship between Medellin and Barcelona is passing through one of its best moments, thanks to alliances for development, managed by the private and local sectors and reaching some of the most vulnerable populations.