At times it can be hard to know if a particular project that Lutheran World Relief supports continues to have an impact even after our portion has ended. That's why it was fun to hear an update from our Regional Communications Officer for Latin America, Annalise Romoser.
Annalise recently visited one of our partners in Colombia, MINGA, at an event at the Centro de Memoria Historica, in Bogotá. A few years ago we partnered with MINGA to document the experiences of victims of the ongoing violence in Colombia. Out of this documentation we created two Memory Galleries: one that toured the United States (including a display in the U.S. Congress), and one that was displayed in Colombia itself, thanks to an award we won from the United States Institute for Peace.
Annalise reports from Bogotá:
I was glad to hear the gallery (both galleries actually) are still going strong. They have been displayed in over 20 barrios in Bogotá and now are showing in 20 high schools. The showings and tours and affiliated pedagogy are funded in part by the mayor's office and recently the secretary of education said he wants the gallery shown in all 350 public high schools in Bogotá.
Even though LWR's work with the gallery has officially ended, the vision we helped create is strong, even growing! Annalise continues:
I just wanted to share this because I think it is an awesome example of how initial and relatively small investments by INGOs [International Non-Governmental Organizations] can grow into more sustainable national or local initiatives. I remember when MINGA approached us five years ago. I thought they were nuts (to be honest) and that there was no space in [Colombia] for a museum, and that a gallery was maybe off the mark. I love seeing how wrong I was. The Centro de Memoria Historica is now built and the gallery is totally relevant to where the country is at now in terms of national dialogue. I like to think the gallery helped to get to get the country there!
We love seeing this continued impact. It means that our lasting promise to the communities where we work really is sustainable!