Johar market, Semarang-style spring rolls, Lawang Sewu: these are a few of many things travellers near and far associate with the capital of the Central Java province. Today, a multi-coloured gem from the province’s largest city has created quite a sensation in the social media: Kampung Pelangi.
Located in the southern part of Semarang, Kampung Pelangi, which was actually named Kampung Wonosari, is home to 300 or so houses of which 274 are colourfully painted. It all started last year when the local government renewed the nearby Kalisari flower market. Upon completion in December, the village that was a slum stood in stark contrast, and so another rejuvenation programme started.
From private donations and CSRs in labour and materials, a total of Rp3m was gathered to repaint and renew the village from roofs to roads. Each building needs to have at least three colours and additional murals are most welcomed. Now that stage one out of four is almost complete, the next stage is to finish repainting and repairing around 100 buildings, cleaning the Semarang river that borders the village, repaving the roads and creating parking spaces, and building a culinary centre in the village.
A boost to the local economy is not the only positive effect in this type of revitalisation—following similar projects done to colour villages around Indonesia such as in Malang, Lubuklinggau and Balikpapan. Due to an increase in tourists, the villagers are motivated to keep their village clean and safe, improve sanitation and their livelihood in general. Interested to visit this summer, or perhaps help decorate Kampung Pelangi?