Corinto, a thriving land in search of peace

Published: 20 November 2014 4:09 CET

By Carlos Bernal


Corinto is  municipality of some 30,000 inhabitants located north of the department of Cauca. Its economy, based on farm and agriculture, has suffered the shocks of armed conflict, drug trafficking, insecurity and lack of opportunities. In spite of these challenges people want peace. In order to achieve this they have promoted inter-institutional cooperation supported by the Red Cross. This has given the community tools to take action in difficult moments, respond to situations of violence and build a better, more inclusive society.

Esteria Bul, a mother and head of her household who resides on a street named Las Guacas together with her community have been caught in the crossfire.  Her house still holds the terrifying memories of moments in which she thought she would lose her life, many of her family members and neighbours have not had the same luck and have died as a consequence of a war that they hope will end. “We have learned to always walk using the same paths, avoid picking up elements left behind as a result of the confrontations between the guerrilla and the army. This has been possible thanks to the support of the volunteers at the  Corinto Branch of the Colombian Red and as a result we have been able to avoid that our children and ourselves be affected by the mines”, she says.

The work being done by the Colombian Red Cross Branch in the Municipality of Corinto has focused on promoting institutional alliances like the one fostered with Fundacion Talentos. “Through this foundation children and teenagers are offered an alternative cultural activities to make use of their free time such as dancing and singing, promoting coexistence psychosocial support, among others, which reach more than 4,000 youths”, emphasizes Alduer Guevara, Director of Doctrine and Protection at the branch.

At the Nucleo Tecnico Agropecuario school students combine their classes with agricultural  activities such as planting vegetables, resource management and recycling, raising hens, cattle and production of eggs. They also learn how to make pastries with the products developed and the resources generated from the production, students run a community diner in the school. The resources generated contribute to the sustainability of the programme allowing these activities to continue in the long term.

“It is very important that Red Cross and Red Crescent delegates get to know our pedagogical work, which seeks to improve the lives of students and their families and along with the Red Cross of Corinto train the teachers, students, and parents in disaster preparedness and management, safe behaviours and facilitate the creation of school brigades”, added Pablo Adolfo Gonzalias, the school’s director.