The New Medellin: A City Reborn

Going to Medellín today, you wouldn't have a clue that just 30 years ago, it was the most dangerous city in the world. When I visited Medellín, it was clear that the strong bond and cooperation between municipal programs and the nonprofit sector was critical to this about-face. Everywhere you went, there were civic programs or services sponsored by the city government to connect communities and build a culture of nonviolence. 

Every weekend in Parque El Poblado, the city offers free bicycle lessons for kids and counselors teach the children how to spot and call-out bullying in their schools and communities. 

Communa 13, a district high on the mountains which surround Medellín, was previously a haven for the drug cartels and their violence. A partnership between the municipality and an artist collective transformed the community by installing a malecon or boardwalk that gave families a safe place to talk and get together. The artists painted giant murals on communal walls to give the community something to care for and call their own. Now, tourists flock to this area to take in the beautiful art and views of the Aburrá Valley. 

While visiting GlobalGiving projects in Medellín, I had the incredible opportunity of attending the grand opening of Fundacion Golondrinas' early-childhood development center. The entire community was there to celebrate the partnership between city officials and local nonprofits that made this achievement possible. 

While Medellín still has its fair share of problems, the progress made by social good institutions, whether governmental or not, is incredible and gives hope to cities currently ravaged by drugs and violence.

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