Mar 3, 2021


'Agrofloresta' one year development
'Agrofloresta' one year development

Dear Friends and Supporters, 

We hope this report finds you well and healthy. Over the last months we tried to make the most out of the relative calm and normality to push ahead with our activities. November and December were busy months with fieldwork, supporting families getting their agroforestry plots on their way, and organizing community assemblies to support the communities to organize the use of their community land in a sustainable way. After a well-deserved time-off around the turn of the year, our team continued the activities in the communities and our permaculture center. Unfortunately, by mid-late January, the second wave of the pandemic hit Peru and our city of Iquitos, once again impeding the normal development of our project. 

During the time we were able to work normally, we implemented another 13 mingas or collective workdays, working with local families on the establishment of their chacra integral or food forest. We are currently working with 15 families, and offer each family our support for three full workdays. By the end of this year, our goal is to extend this work to include at least 24 families, each one converting approx. 1 hectare into a highly diverse food forest. 

By mid-December we also concluded our third communal land planning workshop with the San Pedro village. Using a “talking map” methodology, we asked the villagers to draw the past and present distribution of the natural resources on their territory on a map. The decline of their resources over the years suddenly became very visual and helped the villagers to reflect on their current practices, how they would like their future to be, and what will need to happen so this vision of the future can materialize. Having collected all this information during the workshops, we are now working on transferring the communities’ proposal on how to sustainably manage their communal lands onto a geo-referenced map. We then expect San Pedro to endorse their own proposal in a signed communal agreement. By the end of the year, we aim to have concluded the same process in our three other partner villages.

Do you remember how 1 year ago and just before the strict lockdown of over 100 days we ran an agrofloresta-training with villagers, teaching them this particular method to install an extremely diverse and productive agroforestry system? One year later, we have harvested a great diversity of foods from our own agrofloresta that was planted one year ago, such as maize, yucca, beans, cocona fruit, papaya, chaia, katuk, and bijao leaves. (These latter are used to prepare several local dishes). In many ways, crop diversity strengthens the resilience of the system.

We hope this explosion of green (see photos) – an explosion of life itself - is as much of an inspiration to you as it is to us at the Chaikuni Institute. As another period of limited activity is forced upon us by the coronavirus, and the government´s response to it, we take this inspiration with us and get ready for the time when we can get our hands dirty again. Let´s hope it won´t be too long.  

We hope that your resilience to the current situation persists and once again would like to thank you for your support - to our Institute and the local communities that we partner with. 


The Chaikuni Institute Team

The 'agrofloresta' is thriving one year later
The 'agrofloresta' is thriving one year later
Some of the fruits we harvested in our chacra
Some of the fruits we harvested in our chacra
Preparing new crops for future 'mingas'
Preparing new crops for future 'mingas'
Feb 11, 2021

Support needed in the face of prolonged crisis

Dear donors,

We send warm wishes and a heartfelt thank you from the healers and local workers of the Temple, Shipibo Rao, and Niwe Rao Xobo for your generous donations to our campaign in the past year. It's been a very challenging time and these funds have been vital to those who have not been able to carry out their work since March, 2020.

We are now seeing the COVID situation becoming critical again worldwide, and restrictions that were previously eased or lifted are tightening again in many countries. The loss of income for those in the Amazon who work in plant medicine with mainly foreigners has not returned, and it is not looking like it will in the months ahead.

While our best prediction for when we will all be able to resume our work is in June, our intention is to extend this relief campaign to allow the donations to our beloved healers and local staff to continue until we are able to open our doors again.

Your support is still very much needed in the months to come.

If you have the means right now, please consider making a new or recurring donation to support the Shipibo healers and local workers from the Temple, Shipibo Rao, and Niwe Rao Xobo today.

Every donation makes an impact!

With gratitude,

Chaikuni Institute & Temple of the Way of Light

Feb 2, 2021

Students improving their marks thanks to you

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We hope you are healthy and safe. Here in Peru, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be returning more intensely. On January 25th, the Government announced once again strict quarantine measures for some regions of the country, which have seen a stark increase in new COVID infections. Fortunately, the measures for our Loreto region are moderate for now. We sincerely hope that the situation doesn’t get worse.

Due to the pandemic, most indigenous students of the OEPIAP began the first semester of the 2020 academic year in July and finished in December. Despite all the difficulties, as detailed in previous reports, we are happy to let you know that most of the students have been able to improve their academic performance. Of 68 students enrolled in the National University of the Peruvian Amazon (UNAP), 38 approved all their courses and 53 approved the semester. Comparing these results with last year’s, where of 61 UNAP students in total only 21 were able to pass all their courses, it means that almost double the amount of students approved all courses, which is a gratifying progress.

This has been possible thanks to all of your support. The additional intensive tutoring classes that we have been providing have been key for this improvement. Here are some more numbers: Until December, we have held 28 advanced math sessions, 17 physics sessions, 18 statistics sessions -with three hours each-, 41 basic math sessions, 17 oratory sessions and 13 English sessions, two hours each. In total, 53 students have participated in at least one course, many of them in more than one. The general academic improvement and the big interest of the students in the tutoring classes reassure us that our effort is worth it and motivate us to continue and further intensify our support this year.

Last month, the second semester of 2020 started. Several of the indigenous students, who were affected by the pandemic last year, returned to Iquitos and the OEPIAP to continue with their studies. In addition, 30 new indigenous youth arrived to the OEPIAP with the dream to enter one of the institutions that offer higher education in our city. The most popular institution is the UNAP, which so far held two entry exams for 2021. Of 19 indigenous youth who participated, seven passed the exam.

With the second semester of 2020 just begun and many indigenous youth preparing for the entrance exams next month, the year 2021 begins strongly. At the Chaikuni Institute, we want to live up to the demands through reinforcement courses for both those who are already studying and those who require preparation for these exams. We also continue with the individual student accompaniment and monitoring, especially for those who are restarting their studies after an extremely difficult year for them and their families.

On the other hand, as part of the personal development activities, the "Women's Circles" were carried out during the months of October and November. A total of 17 brave and intelligent women participated in these gatherings, addressing issues related to gender-based violence. Many of the participants have themselves been victims of such gender-based violence.

Furthermore, in November, to mark their 18th anniversary, the OEPIAP organized a small conference with local stakeholders, where reflections about the situation of indigenous youth in Iquitos were shared. These kind of activities have been extremely limited over the past year due to the pandemic, but we do hope they will be possible once again in the very near future.

We would once again like to thank you for your vital support during these difficult times and hope you will continue to stand with the indigenous youth of the Peruvian Amazon.

With gratitude,

The Indigenous Students of OEPIAP and the Chaikuni Institute Team.

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