Intercultural Education for Indigenous Youth

 
$14,743
$18,557
Raised
Remaining
Group of mothers cooking
Group of mothers cooking

The last three months have been busy for us in the Shipibo community of Santa Clara.

At the beginning of April, the children returned to school after their long summer holidays. Also our volunteer, Lucy, returned to live in the community after a short break back home in the USA.

We began once again to offer weekly lunches helping the organization of mothers in the community supplement the food they receive from the Peruvian Govenrnment with more nutritious food and also financially supporting the community by buying food such as fish and chicken from members of the community. We currently cook one meal a week for all the children and young people in the comunity. A new volunteer has recently joined us who has more specialized knowledge in nutrition and she will also be helping in this project by offering weekly classes in nutrition linked to the food the women are cooking.

Additionally, we have been making good progress on developing the permaculture site attached to the primary and kindergarten school in the community. Our Shipibo permaculture technician has been involving the children from the school in the preparation and planting of the site and at the same teaching them about sustainable agriculture. The site is now producing basic food such as yucca, bananas and sweet peppers for use in the weekly meals. Over time more healthy food will be harvested that can be used in the weekly meals.

One other important event occurred in the last three months. Our of our nine University scholarhip students, who we wrote about in the previous report, had his graduation ceremony. For indigenous students to overcome the financial and other barriers to complete a university education is a huge achievement and we would like to congratulate this student and his family for finishing his five year course of studies to be a primary intercultural education teacher, without one single failed class!

School student working on permaculture site
School student working on permaculture site
Our scholarship student receiving his degree
Our scholarship student receiving his degree
Percy with his parents
Percy with his parents

All the nine Shipibo students receiving scholarships to study at university to become professionals in the areas of teaching, law, agriculture and accountancy from Alianza Arkana completed their year at university for 2014. They are all at different stages of their degree programs.

We offer particular congratulations to one of our students, Percy, who successfully finished his five-year degree program in Primary Intercultural Education at the National Intercultural University of the Amazon in Pucallpa. He will be graduating in April 2016.

The last three months in education have been relatively quiet. This is because they are the long school summer holidays in Peru and the schools and universities are closed from mid-December until the beginning of March. During this time many Shipibo families temporarily migrate to other parts of Peru to work in poorly paid agricultural activities such as harvesting grapes and other crops.

Although the children have not been at school, we have continued to work on the agricultural project in the community of Santa Clara, which is attached to the school. The food produced in this project will be used in the weekly cooking and nutrition classes we are organizing with a group of mothers in the community, which will restart in March 2015.

Six of our scholarship students
Six of our scholarship students
Youth artists in Shipibo community of Santa Clara
Youth artists in Shipibo community of Santa Clara

In October this year, we took our intercultural education program another step forward by starting to work with the Shipibo community of Santa Clara. This community is geographically close to other communities in which we have been working and enables us to connect together permaculture projects in all these communities, which is part of our overall vision of landscape regeneration in this area.

Activities have been initiated in Santa Clara that we have successfully pioneered in other communities:

  • Working with a group of mothers to teach them about nutrition by cooking a healthy meal together once a week for all 50 children in the community
  • Having our Shipibo permaculture expert working with the children in the community school to teach them principles of sustainable agriculture through cultivating fruit, vegetables and medicinal plants on land close to the school
  • Organizing workshops in which elders in the community teach the children aspects of the traditional culture (for example stories, songs and crafts), which are in danger of being lost.

The work in Santa Clara has been greatly helped by Lucy, one of our long-term volunteers living in the community. That has enabled her and us to better understand the needs of the community and gain their trust. Through the relationships that she developed with the local children, and the involvement of an artist friend of hers, she was able to facilitate the painting of two beautiful murals on the outside walls of the local primary and kindergarten schools.

We are very excited for the coming months, as the rainy season arrives and the kids will be getting their hands dirty planting lots of trees in the Permaculture Living Classroom.

Kids eat healthy lunches in Grow & Cook project
Kids eat healthy lunches in Grow & Cook project
A completed mural in Santa Clara
A completed mural in Santa Clara
Shipibo Young People at School
Shipibo Young People at School

Dear Friend of the Amazon,

I would like to invite you to participate a unique opportunity to have a huge impact in the lives of indigenous youth in the Amazon: all new & recurring donations made to our project before midnight on Wednesday, September 10th will be matched! 

Indigenous youth in the Shipibo communities we work with have a constant need for support to continue their educations. Our program combines the best of traditional wisdom with modern knowledge to help these young people strengthen their cultural identities while increasing their access to education and sustainable livelihoods in the future.

Double your impact today by supporting culturally-relevant edication initiatives for indigenous youth in the Amazon!

With your help we will:

  • strengthen cultural identity and empower youth with innovative education programs in schools and communities
  • teach traditional agriculture and forestry practices to provide regeneratively grown and nutrient rich food to students
  • revitalize knowledge about medicinal plants, art, music and dance
  • work with young women and girls to raise self-esteem and teach about women's health
  • give university scholarships to indigenous young people

You can make this, and much more, possible by becoming a recurring collaborator with this project today and making your impact count two-fold! Make sure you select "monthly recurring" when you make your donation, as only these will be doubled by a generous supporter.

Why wait?! Share this opportunity with your networks now! 

In Solidarity,

Paul & the Alianza Arkana team

Kids with Alianza Arkana volunteer
Kids with Alianza Arkana volunteer

Just under two months ago, we set up the second stage of a project in the indigenous Shipibo community of Puerto Firmeza where last year a Mexican nutritionist, Mariana, was working with us to run workshops for a group of mothers to teach them about  balanced and healthy nutrition for their families. Mariana did this through the medium of cooking meals together with the women of the communities and adapting traditional recipes to include the nutrients that she had identified were missing in their diet as they changed from a traditional diet to a more Western based diet (including more carbohydrates and sugars into their diet).

In this new phase of the program we are supporting the mothers to continue to cook together and also to offer a lunch of high nutritional value once a week to the children at the local school, which uses produce locally grown at the permaculture project attached to the community. The delightful thing to see is how the mothers are implementing what they learnt in the first phase in this second phase without needing the support of a nutritionist. An additional exciting development is that the program is now run coordinated by two young Shipibo women, Liz and Marleni. Liz is our administrative assistant and has always dreamed of becoming a nutritionist or a pediatrician. Marleni is a trained nurse who brings her scientific knowhow about the human body to these classes, all in their indigenous language. Additionally, Marleni will be continuing her studies into the masters level with a scholarship through Alianza Arkana later this year. We are very excited to see these Shipibo women emerge as community leaders.

The dedication and progress the mothers are making towards the promotion of healthy diet choices in puesuit of seeing their children thrive is really an inspiring one to watch. It is thanks to the support of people like you that this project continues to be such a success!  

Enjoying a nutritious meal
Enjoying a nutritious meal
Everyone gets some!
Everyone gets some!

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Organization

Alianza Arkana

Yarinacocha, Ucayali, Peru
http://alianzaarkana.org/

Project Leader

Paul Roberts

Pucallpa, Ucayali Peru

Where is this project located?

Map of Intercultural Education for Indigenous Youth