The United States’ leading aid agency, USAID, has pledged $1.2 million toward the construction of two educational parks in Colombia’s northwestern Antioquia state, according to El Colombiano newspaper.
The two towns of Taraza and Caceres, in the north of Antioquia state, are each to benefit from the construction of educational parks, which are essentially groups of schools clustered in a park-like setting with shared facilities.
The aim in constructing these two public spaces is to allow cultural opportunities to flourish and to bring communities together, according the parks’ architect, Carlos Betancur, in an official statement on Antioquia’s local government website.
“The most gratifying [work] in designing the educational park for Taraza is being part of a process that transforms the towns of Antioquia [state]. In several years’ time, we will be able to remember, that [as architects], we could contribute to this process that improves our country where there is such necessity,” said Betancur.
This is an especially important investment considering both Taraza and Caceres have experienced first-hand the violence of Colombia’s half-century armed conflict.
Taraza’s mayor, Hector Leonidas Giraldo, confirmed the importance of this investment in the educational parks, noting that it is particularly important “for a region that has lived through the violence.”
In November 2008, some 113 families from Taraza – a town with roughly 29,500 inhabitants – were forced to flee their homes after protesting the murders of two coca farmers.
In May 2013 seven members of an indigenous family were allegedly massacred in Taraza by unknown perpetrators. The reported victims included five children between the ages of three and 11.
USAID is the lead US Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential, according to the organization’s official website. USAID’s projects in Colombia include a clean energy program, strengthening Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities, and supporting demobilized children and youth that were once soldiers.
- E.U. aporta US$1,2 millones para los Parques Educativos de Tarazá y Cáceres (El Colombiano)
- (Antioquia local government press release)
- USAID (official website)