Community
Published: December 07, 2021
Community
Published: December 07, 2021

Stiwewa Was All Heart and No Home, Until We Stepped In

This unique COLORFUL COMMUNITIES® story comes from Suriname, where a neighborhood association certainly needed far more than just a lick of paint. Stiwewa, a neighborhood association based in Winti Wai, Paramaribo, supports the citizens and the environment through education, informative activities and recreation.

Supporting Local Citizens and Young People

With a focus on helping young people develop more opportunities for their future, Stiwewa also supports people with disabilities, senior citizens and single parents through various activities and classes.

For the past 40 years, the organization has carried out its activities across various schools in the area, providing support for the around 12,000 children who make use of the association’s sports field and physical education classes. What they needed most was a place to call their own, somewhere they could welcome guests and take their activities to another level.

Building The PPG Stiwewa Neighborhood Center

Ramesh Dwarkasing, managing director of PPG Varossieau, had been following and supporting the work of Stiwewa for a long time. He had witnessed how the young people they supported achieved better results.

Ramesh was closely involved in this project from the very beginning. In fact, it was he who came up with the idea of enquiring whether our Colorful Communities initiative would be able to donate to the construction of the building.

Planning began in February 2020 and, despite many obstacles (such as the rainy season and lockdown), the foundation stone was finally laid in April 2021.

I am fully convinced that through this building, Stiwewa and the neighborhood will make a huge leap forward. They have proven they can many times in the past.
Ramesh

A Warm, Safe and Inviting Place

When construction was complete, two days of volunteering were organized. In August, 11 PPG volunteers applied a second coat of paint to the inside and part of the outside of the new building. Feeanine Hewitt-Abrahams, marketing officer PPG Varossieau, tells us: 

It was great to see and experience how everyone enthusiastically helped and how the building gradually became more beautiful and colorful. We made it a very warm, safe, child-friendly and inviting place to be.

A month later, seven other volunteers helped local artist Fabian de Randamie and his team to make the outside wall even more colorful with murals. Among these volunteers were Ramesh and the owner of one of the local franchises, who brought his son along to help.

We were happy to be given the chance to do our part. It was a great and fun day with many enthusiastic volunteers.
Brian van Leeuwaarde, director of No Nonsense Business Solutions, a franchisee of two PPG Varossieau decorating centers

An Artistic Relationship Is Born

Fabian is a visual and street artist who has been working since 1999 with locally produced HISTOREX™ paint.

He was first introduced to Feeanine and the Varossieau team in 2017 during a painting contest. Fabian sent in a photo of his 3D artwork and, out of many entries, was declared the winner. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Fabian and his team, TrueColor, have brought their unique skill to many Surinamese Colorful Communities projects since then. This year, in addition to the Stiwewa center, they also supported the OS Flu and OS Pomona schools.

Through these projects, we can stimulate and motivate many especially young people. It is my dream to paint at least 100 walls in Suriname, and I am well on my way.

Fabian does a lot of volunteer work in his spare time, such as providing art workshops for children and the elderly.

The most important thing I have learned is that when you receive, you are also obliged to give a part of it back. That is what PPG does and I appreciate that very much.

Finally, a Place to Call Home

Feeanine tells us that this project fulfilled a long-cherished wish of both Stiwewa and local residents.

It was not about restoring a building or making an existing one more beautiful with our paint. This was the construction of a whole new building.
Feeanine

To which Stiwewa's president Robby Berghout adds:

Having a building means for us, and the surrounding area, that Stiwewa is once again easily accessible, that many people have a permanent and recognizable place to meet, and that is a visible improvement on the frustrations of feeling lonely.
Robby Berghout, president of Stiwewa