We open up spaces of encounter and exchange between the communities with whom we work, in which experiences are shared, ideas are developed, and possible futures are imagined where we can all live a dignified life. These spaces facilitate the creation of new alliances from a deep and sincere appreciation for the others and their cultures. To date, the meetings have taken the form of cultural festivals with educational elements, and solidarity concerts.
¿Why facilitate Encounters?
Our work has taught us the importance of understanding our alliances on a personal level. Our partners on the ground have become friends and confidants; that’s where the trust necessary to build long-lasting partnerships stems from. Today, we see how initiatives arise between various communities in an autonomous way, as a result of the Encounters that have taken place.
Culture and Sports Festival of La Sierra
Together with the Warrior Women of La Sierra and the youth association ASOEMPRESI, RICO has held two editions of the Cultural and Sports Festival in honor of our murdered leaders, Néstor Martínez and Naimen Lara, in the community of La Sierra (Cesar, Colombia). Néstor was a social leader, a human rights defender, and was killed in 2017 for speaking out against local corruption and the harmful effects of coal mining on residents and the environment. Naimen was a teacher, dedicated to protecting youth from falling into drug addiction and prostitution – Naimen died during a police raid on a peaceful demonstration in 2017. In its two editions to date, the Festival has been a celebration of Afro life and culture, which we have been able to share with many visitors in the territory.