Tarcila Rivera Zea is an inspiring activist for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and President of MADRE’s Peruvian sister organization CHIRAPAQ. Just this week, she sat down with Natalia Caruso, MADRE’s Program Director, to discuss the future of the Sapinchikmanta (Voices for Justice) Radio Project. Tarcila reminded us of the importance of finding a way to communicate. Indigenous communities are often not represented in mainstream Peruvian media, and Indigenous women are especially marginalized.The Sapinchikmanta community radio series is, as Tarcila explains, the “main medium of communication through which Indigenous women who speak Quechua can express themselves to their sisters in the region.”She went on to say, “The content of this series combines practical and important information on women’s rights and the right to live free of violence, as well as music and songs from their own culture and their own language.” The radio series has acquired a large following of listeners who rely on the program as their principal source of information. Thank you for your generous support of this project! Not only can CHIRAPAQ continue to host the Sapinchikmanta series, but they also offer training to Indigenous broadcasters. Program participants continue to advocate for their collective rights and for more culturally diverse national radio programming, including programs with a gender focus. As the President of the Ayacucho Network of Quechua Indigenous Communicators, of which CHIRAPAQ is a member, stated, “When we use the microphone, we are making use of a power to express ourselves and we do it collectively, using the radio as a tool to defend our rights.”
Recently, Doris Loayza, an MA Candidate at New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies visited MADRE’s sister organization CHIRAPAQ in Peru. While there, she learned more about the MADRE-supported “Voices for Justice” radio program with Indigenous Peoples. She recently wrote about her trip in a blog post on CHIRAPAQ’s website. As supporters of this project, we’d like to share a short excerpt with you now:“I was especially impressed by the wonderful group of producers in Huanta, how enthusiastic, well-organized and open they were with me, and the pride they have for their Quechua language and roots...it is the most important part of their identity. And that is the reason why Quechua radio is still an important part of life in Andean towns…”Click here to read Doris’ full blog post on the CHIRAPAQ website.Thank you for your continued support of this important program. With your backing, Voices for Justice allows rural Indigenous women to develop an innovative new means to share knowledge and disseminate information to their communities, important steps in promoting their culture and demanding their rights.
This past month, our sister organization CHIRAPAQ released Nuestras Voces al Infinito, a short film exploring the lives of two Indigenous women who are making a difference in their communities as radio broadcasters for Voice for Justice. Leónidas is a sheep herder from a remote community in the Andean region of Peru. Paquita studies early childhood education at university and is from a Shipibo community in the Peruvian Amazon.Leónidas starts her day at dawn, cooking soup and potatoes for her family. After her daily work she goes to the shack, which serves as a radio station, and begins her broadcast. Since becoming involved with Voices for Justice, her commitment has never wavered. She firmly believes in the importance of communication for Indigenous Peoples and has dreams for her future and that of her community. Leónidas hopes that one day her family will be able to move to a nicer, cleaner community, and that younger generations will continue to speak Quechua and maintain the cultural traditions of their ancestors.When Paquita was first offered the chance to participate in the weekly radio series, she was unsure of what to say. Today, she contributes with confidence, sharing lessons learned from her classes at the university and speaking with pride about Shipibo culture and other topics of interest to her community back home.The radio program has benefited not only volunteer broadcasters like Leónidas and Paquita, but their listeners as well. Parents report that their children are listening and learning, and in the words of Paquita, “today, I see many youths that are no longer marginalized or ashamed, because they have understood that who one is and how one lives is something that no one will ever be able to take away”. The voices of these women “flow like rivers and move with the wind…rising from Mother Earth…they are one with the universe”.
Their voices are infinite, and infinitely powerful.
Tarcila Rivera Zea, president of our Peruvian sister organization CHIRAPAQ, was recently interviewed about Voice for Justice, her radio program for Indigenous Peoples in Peru. Below is a brief summary of her interview:
In her recent interview, Tarcila Rivera Zea, president of CHIRAPAQ, noted that Indigenous Peoples in Peru are not just excluded from national society, but from information society as well. Even though Peru has recognized itself as a multicultural and multilingual country, it has not developed communication policies and programs for its Indigenous communities. It’s as if “they could not imagine Indigenous communities as creators of media” stated Rivera Zea. This is why Rivera Zea, an Indigenous activist, is working with CHIRAPAQ to fight for Indigenous communities’ access to communications, so that they can share their own experiences, develop their own messages, and be recognized as citizens of the State. Sapinchikmanta, or Voices for Justice, creates communication spaces and networks for Indigenous Peoples, by Indigenous Peoples.
Overcoming Indigenous Peoples’ lack of access to media and information is one of the various challenges that these communities face. But they will not be discouraged. Rivera Zea said: “Indigenous communities are more intercultural than anything else. We have survived colonization, genocide and exclusion and we have adapted to all contexts. This is just another challenge in our struggle.”
To see a full summary of her interview in Spanish, click here.
We recently received a report from CHIRAPAQ, our sister organization in Peru, sharing updates on the radio program they run with Indigenous communities. The radio is used as a means to share information on health, domestic violence, women’s political participation, food security, climate change and more. CHIRAPAQ works with Indigenous women and men to train them in radio production and broadcasting, and to develop programming to promote women’s human rights and collective Indigenous rights. The report highlighted testimonials from “communicators”, the radio program participants. We would like to share some of those testimonials with you now:
Olinda Jorge Perez, Indigenous Communicator from Huanta: “Nuestro rol como comunicadores y cominicadoras idígenas es muy importante en la sociedad, porque nosotros llevamos la voz de nuestros pueblos, defendemos nuestros derechos, e informamos lo que pasa en nuestras comunidades…”
“Our role as Indigenous communicators is very important in society, because we carry the voice of our towns, we defend our rights, and we inform of what’s happening in our communities...”
Leónidas Rodríguez Berrocal, Indigenous Communicator from Vilcas Huamán: “Necesitamos seguir fortaleciéndonos para seguir sensibilizando a más gente, hacer talleres con los comunicadores. Yo quisiera que tengamos una radio propia para los comunicadores, que llegue a todas las provincias de Vilcashuamán. Espero que más jóvenes participen en la organización, en algún momento deberán reemplazarnos a los mayores, pero juntos debemos trabajar para seguir adelante…”
“We need to continue strengthening ourselves so that we can continue bringing awareness to more people, have workshops with the communicators. I would like that we have our own radio for the communicators that reaches all of the Vilcas Huamán provinces. I hope that more young people participate in the organization, at some point they will have to take over for the older participants, but together we should work to move forward…”
Margarita Soto Bautista, Indigenous Communicator from Huamanga: “Los comunicadores indígenas estamos fortaleciendo nuestra organización, y no desmayamos… estamos en constante contacto con nuestras bases, comunicándonos… por eso nuestra Red está luchando, está trabajando para defender nuestros derechos individuales y colectivos…”
“We Indigenous communicators are strengthening our organization, and we do not falter… we are in constant contact with our bases, communicating… this is what our network is fighting for, to work towards defending our individual and collective rights…”
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