SEMARANGE, INDONESIA – Kampung Pelangi used to be a slum. The residents had very little prospects and very little hope. That is, until a middle-aged high-school teacher had an idea. Slamet Widodo (54), designed a project for the community to repaint their town, and it’s changed everything.
The residents of Kampung Pelangi came together to paint every single building in bright colors. Widodo was inspired by similar projects in other parts of Indonesia. Since the repainting, the town’s become a tourist hotspot, its beautiful colors attracting travelers for miles. The villagers say that it’s already changed their lives and improved their prospects. Many are now employed giving tours of their home and making and selling beautiful souvenirs.
“It’s because of the unique look of the village,” one tourist, Nihayatun Naquiyah, said, “We know this area used to be a slum district but now it looks so beautiful after the colorful makeover. I used to pass this area without any interest but now the colors change everything.”
“Obviously this condition is very influential, before we were only the residents of what I can say was a quiet village but now we can call it a dynamic village, because women are empowered and are able to increase their family’s income,” Amanah Suyitno, who lives in the village, said of the change.
But no one is prouder than Slamet Widodo: “In the future it will bring benefits to our community, especially economic empowerment. The project will be supported by the activity and creativity (of the people) in the village so the local community has a sense of belonging.”
It’s an amazing transformation. What was once a dull, crushed community has now been filled with life. The residents have something to be happy about. For once, their lives have improved. Things are looking up for Kampung Pelangi.