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 Education  Peru Project #26871

Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon

by Instituto Chaikuni
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
"Ser Indigena" the documentary poster
"Ser Indigena" the documentary poster

Showing the reality of young indigenous students.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Last month, we finally released the audiovisual project "Ser Indígena" (Being Indigenous), which consists of a documentary and a photographic exhibition. The project is the result of a long work with the students themselves, with the aim to show their reality, dreams, and challenges, and to reflect on interculturality and what it means to be indigenous in the context of a more and more globalized community. 

In this documentary, we get to know Jimena from the indigenous Achuar people, an Environmental Engineering student in Iquitos, who dreams of cleaning up the pollution that almost 5 decades of oil activity have left in her territory. We also get acquainted with Federico, a Language and Literature student from the Awajún people, who aspires to improve education in his community. Finally, we accompany Leonarda to her native Tikuna community on the Amazon. Leonarda is a Nursing student who hopes to contribute to the health of her people by combining traditional practices and modern medicine.

During the 50-minute journey, the viewer endorses the struggles, dreams and aspirations of these young indigenous students and their peoples, raising awareness about the importance of indigenous youth accessing higher education in order to choose their own destiny and become a fundamental part of this multicultural society.

Close to one hundred people attended the premiere in Iquitos on the 12th of October, the date coinciding with the International Day of Cultural Diversity (or Resistance Day, as some indigenous groups call the Day Columbus first arrived to the Americas). We also plan to project the documentary in educational institutions and other public spaces in the city to create broader awareness around the reality of indigenous students in Iquitos. 

At the same time, we opened a photo exhibition in a popular café in Iquitos, portraying pictures taken during the production of this documentary. The exhibition has been visited by hundreds of local Iquiteños and tourists alike.

For the students, it has been a very important and enriching experience. They learned how to plan and organize an audiovisual production, and wrote their own script. Furthermore, they improved their communication skills and were proud to show and see themselves reflecting on their own identity. We plan to do more of this in the near future.

More support to fulfill their dreams...

Besides this successful audiovisual experience, we continue supporting the Organization of Indigenous Peoples Students from the Peruvian Amazon (OEPIAP) organizing training courses, receiving and guiding new students upon their arrival to the city and throughout their university matriculation process. Oepiap elected a new student leadership in July, who will carry on the work of the prior board, continuing the negotiations with the regional government in order to fulfill their biggest dream, to have access to a piece of land and build their own student residency.

Once again, we thank you for everything you continue to do to support indigenous youth in the Peruvian Amazon.

With profound gratitude,

 

The Indigenous Students of OEPIAP and The Chaikuni Institute Team

"Ser Indigena" the Photo-exhibition poster
"Ser Indigena" the Photo-exhibition poster
October 12th, launching the documentary
October 12th, launching the documentary
Enjoying the photo-exhibition with the students
Enjoying the photo-exhibition with the students
Day gathering of indigenous youth
Day gathering of indigenous youth

Dear Friends and Supporters,


Last week, on August 9th, the world celebrated the international day of the world´s indigenous
peoples. While we at the Chaikuni Institute celebrate, learn from, honour and promote
indigenous peoples – their cultures, knowledge systems, cosmovisions, environmental
stewardship, etc. – every day in our work, we joined in the global celebration last week.
Our Loreto region of Peru is home to 31 indigenous peoples speaking 29 different indigenous
languages. For this year´s occasion, as last year, we teamed up with the local branch of the
Ministry of Culture and several other like-minded local organizations, to organize the second
encounter of indigenous Amazonian knowledge and wisdom and celebrate this incredible
cultural diversity.


Rather than being a simple showcase of “exotic” chants and dances, the event aimed at raising
awareness among the local population and exhibit a glimpse of the extremely rich cultural
indigenous heritage of our region. From birth to childhood, to adulthood, to death, and the
afterlife: 7 different indigenous peoples shared their traditions on how their culture perceives
the different stages in life with the audience in a large public park in Iquitos, through stories,
icaros (chants), dances, and rituals. Paradoxically enough, the local population in the largest
city of the region is often entirely unfamiliar with these ancestral knowledge systems.


Earlier in this week of celebrations, the Chaikuni Institute organized a full-day gathering of
indigenous youth. About 50 indigenous youth studying at different institutions of higher
education in Iquitos participated in the event, discussing their priorities on key topics such as
territory, development, health and sanitation, and their political organization. We furthermore
reviewed a preliminary version of our documentary about the indigenous students directly
with the protagonists and gathered important inputs for the finalization of the documentary.

Besides this week of festivities, we continued our advocacy to promote the project of the
student residency, exploring different concrete alternatives. However, the regional
government is very slow in presenting an alternative piece of land for the student residency
[after they announced that the land leased to the students had been designated for other
purposes (see the previous report)].

Nonetheless, we continue to accompany and support the
students in finding a new piece of land, and are exploring and defining new strategies to find
financial and technical support for the design, planning and construction of a sustainable and
ecofriendly housing project for the students.


We'll keep you updated with the latest news as we continue to run our campaign for the full
funding goal, and for the student residency to become a reality. Any donation will help to keep
us going.


We thank you for everything you continue to do to support indigenous youth in the Peruvian
Amazon.


With gratitude,

The Indigenous Students of OEPIAP and The Chaikuni Institute Team

Students posing in the new and improved residence
Students posing in the new and improved residence

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Today, we thought we´d seize the opportunity to briefly tell you a bit about the difficult political context we are working in and the challenges the students and our Institute face trying to build a permanent student center for the indigenous students here in Iquitos.

A short re-cap: In late 2017, the students achieved a (seemingly) historic victory as the Regional Government signed an agreement to lease a piece of land to them for 10 years (renewable) where the future student residence shall be built. In 2018, the government approved a project to build temporary housing on the land, announcing the start of the construction several times throughout the year. Yet, when the 4-year term of the government came to a close in the end of 2018, not one single brick had been laid out. The exception: In mid-2018, with your help, we at the Chaikuni Institute went ahead and built a computer room and office space for the students.

A few months after the new government had taken over office, and the students re-opened negotiations for the building of the student housing, the government announced that they would nullify their agreement over the lease of the land. They proclaimed that the agreement had legal procedural errors, and that the land was zoned for other purposes. In short, the future residency cannot be built on the piece of land granted to them in 2017.

Once this shock was somehow digested, instead of giving up, the students and Chaikuni armed a new advocacy campaign towards the regional government, teaming up with more allies such as the local arm of the Ministry of Culture. The attitude of the Regional Government so far has been collaborative; a series of meetings to identify a new alternative piece of land for the students has given some preliminary results. At the same time, a committee is being established that will together draw up a public project and plans for the student residency. In the meantime, the students have once again been moved to another temporary hostel; but this time to a residency with much improved living conditions.

Of course, our Intercultural Education program has also been doing many other activities. We continued our workshops on bee-keeping with stingless bees, organizing two visits to our permaculture center. For the upcoming documentary, we accompanied some students in their lectures at the University and visited Leonarda, a young and energetic Tikuna woman studying in Iquitos, in her native community Cuchillococha, situated further down on the Amazon river, close to the boarder with Brazil and Columbia.

In early May, we had the pleasure to receive Viktorija, field traveler for South America from GlobalGiving, here in Iquitos. We organized a full day visit to our permaculture center, where the indigenous students and our staff organized a so called minga (=communal work). It is very common in the Loreto region that village members gather regularly to do communal work; building a school, clearing a communal field, improving a road or a path, etc. The female students had prepared masato for the event; a traditional drink made out of (usually fermented) cassava, widely used among indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon. The day was shared between setting up ecological gardens, drinking masato and sharing experiences.

We'll keep you updated with the latest news as we continue to run our campaign for the full funding goal, and for the student residency to become a reality. Any donation will help to keep us going.

We thank you for everything you continue to do to support indigenous youth in the Peruvian Amazon.

With profound gratitude,

 The Indigenous Students of OEPIAP and The Chaikuni Institute Team

Visiting the students at the University (UPO)
Visiting the students at the University (UPO)
Students preparing the
Students preparing the 'masato' traditional drink
Welcoming Viktorija-Global Giving during her visit
Welcoming Viktorija-Global Giving during her visit
Visiting Cuschillococha, Leonarda
Visiting Cuschillococha, Leonarda's community

Dear Friends and Supporters,

First of all, we hope you all had a happy holiday season and a great start into the new year. Since we last wrote to you, direct project activities have been running on a slower pace. In December, the National University of the Peruvian Amazon in Iquitos, where most of the indigenous students of OEPIAP study, has been on a general strike. Some students – the few with sufficient economic means – seized the opportunity to travel to their families in their native communities for the holiday season.

When the university shuts down, the most affected are usually the students. When lectures finally re-start, they do so with a packed and chaotic schedule, to somehow make up the lost time. With a hectic January and semester exams in February, the indigenous students have seen most of their time being taken up by classes and exam preparations. To support the students in this challenging period, we offered mathematic classes and tutoring, intensifying the efforts now in early February.

The end of a semester always also means the arrival of new young students, aspiring to pass the entrance examinations and enter start their university career. Our team, together with the leadership of OEPIAP, organized a special half day event for the 20 plus postulants, offering an introduction to basics about life in the city, the university, and the student organization.

Since December, we have also been preparing the ground for a new documentary film project about the indigenous students in Iquitos: together with them! The story and script for the film have all been developed with the student´s participation. Perhaps more important, throughout several workshops with a core group of students, our team taught them about the planning, filming and production of a short video project. The students will not only be protagonists of this documentary, but at the same time learn about the technicalities and craft of filming and the production of audio-visual material. Quite a lot of footage has already been filmed and we are optimistic that we will have a final product to present in our next report. Stay tuned!

For us at the Chaikuni Institute in general and our intercultural education program in particular, the end/start of the year always also means a time for report writing, auto-evaluation and planning. We are currently also intensifying our search for new grants and project donors; our program cannot exist without funding.

The next months will see us step up the coordination to finalize the building plans of the student´s residency center and search for potent partners to fund the project; organize new Excel and English classes; and plan fresh visits to our permaculture site to continue the student´s learning about stingless bee-keeping, honey production and permaculture.

We'll keep you updated with the latest news as we continue to run our campaign for the full goal of $24,000. Any donation will help to keep this project going.

We thank you for everything you continue to do to support indigenous youth in the Peruvian Amazon.

With profound gratitude,

The Indigenous Students of OEPIAP and The Chaikuni Institute Team

Watch our new video 'Leaders of the New Amazon' from The Chaikuni Institute on Vimeo!!!

 



Dear Friends & Supporters,

Since June 2017, through this campaign, we have been working diligently in support of the self-organized indigenous youth organization OEPIAP, which represents over 120 indigenous youth from 13 Amazonian peoples from the Peruvian Amazon. These indigenous youth come from all over the rural areas of the Peruvian Amazon region of Loreto to study in the city of Iquitos because it is the only place for several hundred miles where they can study. Many of these students come in boats through connecting rivers of the Amazon fromisolated indigenous communities on trips that can take several days to arrive.When they arrive, they are strangers in a strange land and know almost no one. They often arrive with only the very basic necessities, very limited financial resources, experience a culture shock, and must live in extreme poor living arrangements in order to study to improve their lives and to take this knowledge back to their community to help their people.

These indigenous students have come together to overcome their many struggles, and their biggest dream is to obtain a higher education and to have a safe place with suitable conditions to live and study.

After years of political struggle, including numerous protests, last year the regional government of Loreto finally granted the student organization a piece of land for them to begin to build their dream.

A critical and central piece to this dream has been for them to have their own residency and study center in order to have better living conditions and appropriate places to study. In early May of 2018, we initiated the construction of a computer lab and office space on the land. Several students took actively part in the building. This exciting advance has been made possible thanks to your donations as well as a grant from the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED).

In June of 2018, the computer lab was completed and the students are eager to move to the land in order to begin using this facility and to benefit from your generous donations. However, the largest and most important part of our vision has yet to begin: The Residency Center

These students aspire to build a residency hall for approximately 200 students on the land granted to them by the regional government of Peru, as they are currently living in extremely poor conditions compounded by an environment that insufficiently provides a conducive and stimulating learning experience.   

Since the last report, we have been working with a group of student architects from the local university, Universidad Científica del Perú (UCP), to begin designing the future site of the student residency and study center...and the future looks exciting!

 

Our plan, coinciding with the vision of the students, is to not only make the residency center a place to live and study, but also a laboratory for sustainability in the Peruvian Amazon, in which the students themselves can learn about installing and managing renewable energy systems, collecting and filtering rainwater, and growing permaculture gardens that will provide healthy, organic food for the students so that they can learn these techniques and apply them in their native communities, in which many lack basic infrastructure such as electricity and access to clean water.

We have also recently been in talks with the amazing organization responsible for the Una Escuela Sustentable project from Uruguay, which has already built two sustainable ‘Earthship’ schools using 67% recycled materials, the first two “Sustainable schools” of their kind in Latin America. We hope that possible future collaboration with Una Escuela Sustentable will allow us to create a unique yet innovative example for the entire Amazon region.

Every bright, young mind who desires to better themselves and their community should be able to have the access to the proper living conditions and tools necessary for their success. With your support and generosity, the indigenous youth of the Peruvian Amazon can achieve their dreams and goals of a higher education, which they can bring this knowledge back to their communities.  By donating to their cause, you are creating a partnership with these students in their development, and supporting a brighter and healthier future for the indigenous people, the Amazon rainforest, and the global community of life that is dependent on life giving resources the Amazon provides to all of us.

Consider a donation today and support the future leaders of the New Amazon!

 

We wish all of you and your families around the global on this #GivingTuesday a very blessed holiday and a very Happy New Year for 2019!!!

We will continue to run our campaign until we reach our full goal of $24,000USD.

If you would like to stay updated with the students and their progress, please sign up to The Chaikuni Institute newsletter here for exclusive updates on the project and news on our work in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.

With Gratitude and Love,

The Chaikuni Institute Team

 

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Organization Information

Instituto Chaikuni

Location: Iquitos, Loreto - Peru
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Chaikuni
Project Leader:
Sophie Pinchetti
Iquitos, Loreto Peru
$11,349 raised of $24,000 goal
 
140 donations
$12,651 to go
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