Following years of armed conflict in Colombia, Casa Pintada helps communities heal and move forward with hope for a better future.
In regions affected by conflict, it is often hard to rebuild a sense of community and trust among neighbors, many of whom isolate themselves as they cope with the trauma of war. As part of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration-funded Closing Gaps program in Colombia, community rehabilitation activities break down barriers by bringing people together to work towards a common goal.
In the Casa Pintada (Painted House) activity, neighbors decorate and repaint their community—rehabilitating houses, while restoring the connections that make neighborhoods home. Working side by side, Casa Pintada brings color back to the community and people back together.
“Today we see our houses painted after most of them haven’t gotten a fresh coat of paint since the 1980s,” said a participant from Caquetá. “This has changed our town a lot. You feel an indescribable feeling seeing how beautiful it is and from all we were able to achieve in such a short time.”
In partnership with municipal governments, Casa Pintada was implemented in 10 communities in Caquetá, Cauca, and Córdoba, benefiting nearly 740 families. A fresh coat of paint is also a fresh start, helping to rekindle pride and ownership of a community after years of conflict and displacement.
“This has been very important to us,” said a community member from Cordoba. “Seeing our houses changed is seeing our community in a different way, everyone working together and helping each other. That is something you didn’t use to see here.”
Throughout the process of refurbishing and painting homes, Blumont psychologists work with communities to help them recover from the effects of displacement and armed conflict. At the end of the activity, participants discuss the emotional and communal benefits of transforming the spaces they share.
“I believe that the effect of Casa Pintada is that we are more united. We were able to work together and support each other,” said a participant in Caquetá. “I see now that the best way to take care of each other is by learning to keep calm, to listen and respect each other, and to avoid acting in a violent or aggressive way.”