Until recently, the Central Java community in Kampung Pelangi, a tiny Indonesian village, had to contend with living in slum houses that were severely degraded. No one wants to live like this, but life rarely offers us the chance to live in idyllic conditions. So when the Indonesian government offered to fork over $22,467 to turn the area into a rainbow village, the locals were eager to see what the final results would look like. The magnificent upgrade was pushed forward by a school principal named Slamet Widodo, who wanted his village to shed its slum status and become something wondrous.
As you can tell from the image on the left, the village desperately needed a massive improvement, and boy did it get one. Just look at the photo on the right and you'll see how a dazzling makeover has turned a poverty-stricken town into a rainbow-colored marvel.
Widodo wanted all 390 homes in the village to get painted in bright colors. After all, three other towns in Indonesia, including the Jodipan Village, had gotten similar makeovers, and now it was time to turn this village into a beautiful art piece.
Mayor Hendrar Prihadi oversaw the change personally to ensure that the homes and the surrounding areas became livelier. Prihadi felt that the project encouraged the locals to improve the value of their homes.
Residents play a big part in ensuring the village doesn't return to its former state. They're also responsible for keeping the river nearby clean so that the village never reverts back to the slum that it was.
It feels like you've entered the magical land of Oz from "The Wizard of Oz," or "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." People are noticing. Best of all, the Kampung Pelangi village has noticed their international tourism rate spike up.
The village is so Instagram-worthy, and the hashtag #kampungpelangi has become popular on social media. The increase in tourism has helped the local economy out too, as sales from souvenirs, as well as local food establishments have also increased.
The colors are like eye candy for locals and tourists. It's as if the village is now pulsing with new life thanks to the bohemian style artsy motif that the colors provide for this town. It's amazing how a little color can make such a huge difference.
Colors can't fix poverty, at least not right away, but what it can do, aside from bringing more revenue from tourism, is to alleviate the depression that comes with living in poverty, and hopefully give people hope for a brighter future.
Anyone who says that colors aren't enough to help these people are wrong. If anything, the beautification project helps to encourage the locals to better care for their town. Besides, can you think of a better way to turn something ordinary into a happy town? We didn't think so.