New Homes for Colombia’s Displaced Indigenous People
IOM Colombia has handed over the keys of 42 new homes to 184
displaced and vulnerable members of the Pasto indigenous group in
Nariño department following a traditional ceremony.
The handover of the homes, which were built with technical support
from IOM and funding from the US Agency for International
Development (USAID), the Resguardo Indígena de Males and the
mayor’s office of Cordoba (Nariño), was presided over
by Colombian First Lady Lina Moreno de Uribe.
The homes, built according to a traditional design, are round,
which to the Pastos symbolizes the sun’s presence, as well as
God’s divinity. They include stoves, which in Pasto
tradition, families can gather around and which help them to stay
At the handover ceremony the group conducted a “sacado de
la vieja” ritual to rid the homes of possible evil spirits
and ensure the good health of the new owners.
Seventy-one per cent of the families that received the new homes
were previously living with relatives or friends, 24 per cent were
living in sub-standard makeshift dwellings, and 5 per cent were
According to Colombia’s Agency for Social Action and
International Cooperation, as of 2007, the country had some
2,557,000 internally displaced people (IDPs).
For the past eight years, IOM Colombia has implemented
USAID-funded programmes to assist their social and economic
reintegration in the areas of health, housing, income generation
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