My name is Diamantina Arcoíris and I am 38 years old.
Four years ago, I decided to start a brand new life based on social rehabilitation.
The main reason for this pivotal change was the fact that the body of my missing brother Camilo Azuero Suárez, finally appeared after nine years of desperately looking for him.
Camilo became homeless because of his severe drug addiction.
In 2007 a horrible twist of fate happened, and he was murdered by the Colombian Army to pass him off as a guerrilla member fallen in combat. It was a common practice of extrajudicial executions carried out by the army to inflate the statistics of guerrilla people killed in combat and fed with vulnerable populations like peasants, homeless, drugaddicts, or people looking for a job.
Around 10.000 people were murdered this way. They were either kidnapped or fooled with job promises, taken to a remote spot in the jungle, riddled with bullets, and then disguised with camouflage uniform and rubber boots (as the guerrilla look usually). Weapons were also put in their hands so that they had their fingerprints.
This shocking experience made me rethink my purpose in life. I decided then to create “Fundación Rediseñándonos” (Rediseñándonos Foundation) to work with young addicts and sex workers.
As my main activity is to design and make clothes, I have focused on teaching them the different trades within the fashion design field. The benefit is that they can make a living out of this training.
In 2018, I moved to a house in the red light district of Santa Fé neighborhood in Bogotá. Along with some volunteers, we recruit young people from the streets by opening our doors to share food and shelter. They then become familiar with trades like embroidery, knitting, and dressmaking. They can afterward make a voluntary decision of engaging with the clothing workshop and being paid for it.
Surprisingly, they start to abandon criminal behavior after being busy with something else.
Due to the recent health emergency caused by the COVID 19 virus, the Foundation opened its doors and offered shelter for all those young people engaged with Foundation during the last two years (and also for those who don´t).
As it usually happens with emergencies, we didn't have the time to plan the right way of hosting people on this large scale. We improvised and now we are 32 people living under the same roof.
The bright side of the situation is that the initial period of enforced drug abstinence has mutated into a greater commitment on their part. They express their intention to be part of the Foundation in a permanent way. It is becoming clearer each day that they can not be evicted from the house when the emergency is over.
It is for this reason that we are anticipating an economic emergency.
Fundación Rediseñándonos gets all its funding from the sales of the clothes. But even when the production is reaching top levels due to the permanent creation during the quarantine period, the sales will not increase until the current financial crisis is overcomed.
The house also hosts a small group of indigenous people.
We have been developing ancestral weaving projects with indigenous communities from La Chorrera, Amazonas. There is a lot of ancient knowledge that is becoming obsolete there. Our idea is to promote its teaching to the new generations, and to sell their products to fair trade.
This crowdfunding is looking for the resources to invest in the first and more urgent phase of this long term project. We are looking for the funds to provide food, support and the right shelter to the 30 people living in the house. We are also looking for funds to provide enough work materials with the idea of not stopping the creative embroidery therapy that keeps the project beneficiaries busy.