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 Education  Peru Project #26871

Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon

by Instituto Chaikuni
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Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
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Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
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Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
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Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
Build An Indigenous Student Centre In the Amazon
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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
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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

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

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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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Dear Friends & Supporters,

Last time we wrote you, we were busy completing construction of the office-computer building on the indigenous students’ land on the outskirts of Iquitos. We are so thankful that your donation has made this possible, and for your continued support to the indigenous youth! The completion of this office-computer building marks a historic achievement for indigenous organization OEPIAP: it represents the first bricks being laid on the land granted to OEPIAP after years of struggle to secure a space upon which to build a permanent student centre for all the indigenous youth arriving to Iquitos in pursuit of higher education and becoming professionals.

Over the past months, we’ve been helping the students to put the finishing touches to the infrastructure of the building, which has required painting inside and outside the building. We’re now busy helping to plan a collaboration between the students and different local art collectives for a mural painting session in September, in order to translate OEPIAP’s visual identity and creativity into the building.

The eagerly awaited construction and implementation of the housing facilities promised by the regional government is still pending, and we are continuing to accompany the students in this process to make the authorities comply with their commitments, while at the same time exploring other options to make this center a reality. Once housing is implemented and the site inhabited by the students, the full implementation of the office-computer building will be realized. Your donations will greatly help towards equipping the site with Internet, computers, a printer and photocopier, seats, and tables.

Our busy team is also continuing its vital work supporting the youth’s professional and personal development by attending to their self-reported needs and interests. We have been organizing a series of information technology workshops which will be offered on a bi-weekly basis over the next few months. Following their previous experiences with our Permaculture team, students have also been inspired to explore and build their skills in this area. Over the last weeks, we organized two visits and workshops on honey beekeeping for a group of sixteen students, with a view of establishing a permanent work group meeting up twice a month. Native bees are fundamental to the Amazonian ecosystem, and beekeeping represents an important activity with positive environmental, economic and social value in both rural and urban settings.

Our first visit took place outside of Iquitos in Zungaracocha on the grounds of our ally FORMABIAP, the bilingual intercultural education program of national indigenous organization AIDESEP. The students received a live demonstration into stingless honey beekeeping techniques and nests on site. We then organized a special visit to Chaikuni’s Permaculture site, including a workshop led by our Permaculture team explaining and demonstrating best practices in honey beekeeping. “We hope to have our own beehives on the land of OEPIAP one day soon”, says Ronal, an Awajun student from the Amazonas region. With your continued support to this campaign, it’s an idea which we will be very excited to help support, as honey beekeeping has the potential to be a complementary source of income for the students and their communities of origin.

We'll keep you updated with the latest news as we continue to run our campaign for the full goal of $24,000.

We thank you for everything you continue to do to support indigenous youth, who are the future of the Amazon.

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 & Love,

The Chaikuni Institute Team & Indigenous Students of OEPIAP

 

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

After so many years dreaming of their own land and an indigenous student centre, indigenous youth of the Peruvian Amazon are now finally starting to see their wish turning into a physical reality, and you are part of this!

In early May, the building of a computer room and office space officially began on the land which the regional government granted a 10-year lease to indigenous student organization OEPIAP, which represents over 120 indigenous youth from 13 Amazonian peoples. This exciting advance has been made possible thanks to your donations as well as a grant from the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED).

This office-computer building will provide an important study space for the indigenous youth, who still very much lack the spaces, tools and conditions to adequately pursue their studies while in Iquitos. The office room will also serve to strengthen and empower OEPIAP as an organization by providing its student leaders with a professional and physical base in which to carry out planning, meetings, and management duties for the organization.

The building is set to be finished and inaugurated by the end of June. It constitutes an important part of the students’ dreamed and self contained centre, and it is hoped to serve to pressure the regional government in fulfilling its long-standing commitment to provide housing for the youth who have left their remote communities to come to Iquitos in order to pursue their dream of higher education and becoming professionals.

“We want the regional governor to prioritize and approve the construction of the temporary malocas for the indigenous students”, says President of OEPIAP Edgar, referring to the regional government’s promise months ago to begin building two temporary malocas which would together accommodate up to 80 students and provide a temporary solution. The design plans are finalized and the regional governor has approved the project but the students are still awaiting the start of the construction, which has been postponed several times. The government has hinted that construction may begin this June.  

In order to celebrate the acquisition of the land lease, and with hopes to visibilize the students’ struggle locally, we organized a minga (communal work) with the students of OEPIAP prior to beginning the building of the computer room. Equipped with machetes, rakes, and blow guns, around 100 indigenous students attended the minga and began cleaning up the 0.6 hectare land, demarcating its perimeters with tape and wooden poles, and planting a few mamey trees with the help of Chaikuni’s Permaculture team. For many, it was the first time visiting the new land. “We come from very far away and we have great necessities – that is why this land is so important for us”, says Leonarda, a Ticuna student. “We have been struggling for this land and student center so that future generations that come after us have a real space and won’t be suffering like us, they will have a proper space to study, they will be able to feel stable in their studies as well as in the space in which they are living”.

Your donations have also contributed towards supporting writing skills workshops for the students and individual psychological support sessions led by Chaikuni’s Student Monitor. We also organized a lively series of bicycle maintenance workshop led by Profesor Juan from the Iquitos School of Cycling, as part of our pilot project “Conduce tus sueños” (“Drive Your Dreams”) which aims to provide an ecological and alternative mode of transport for the indigenous youth. Currently, and thanks to your gifts to this campaign, OEPIAP has been donated 10 bicycles. But to meet the transport needs of the 120-plus students who often don’t have enough financial resources to pay for their transport to and from the university, this isn’t nearly enough, and we hope to continue to increase the number of bicycles with your ongoing support and sharing of this campaign with your friends and family!

As part of Chaikuni’s vital work to increase the visibility of indigenous students in Loreto, we are also proud to have helped edit and publish an important testimony by talented indigenous student and Vice-President of OEPIAP Elisvan, entitled: “I Travelled To The Tigre River”: An Indigenous Student’s View On Oil Contamination in Loreto”. Read the article here, it has already been republished nationally and internationally by the likes of La Mula, Servindi, Truth-Out, and Intercontinental Cry.

We'll keep you updated with the latest news as we continue to run our campaign for the full goal of $24,000.

We thank you for everything you continue to do to support indigenous youth, who are the future of the Amazon.

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 & Love,

The Chaikuni Institute Team & Indigenous Students of OEPIAP

 

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

Perseverance can take us far. The youth of Amazonian indigenous student organization OEPIAP are a great example of this: in the face of obstacles like discrimination, unequal opportunities and life in Iquitos city, for the large majority a several days boat ride away from their communities, they continue to pursue their dream of higher education and becoming professionals, come what may.

Over the past months, the students have been hard at work pushing the regional government to determine how to move forward with the land lease granted to them in late 2017. The students are eager to move to the allocated land plot as quickly as possible, and are also planning construction and alternative actions with our team this month, with the hope to pressure authorities to comply with their promises to initiate the design and construction plans for the permanent student centre. Discussions with the regional government have been underway about construction plans for two large malocas which would hold up to 80 people and provide a temporary solution.

Turning the student centre from dream to reality is a gruelling process, and we are working tirelessly with the students to ensure all steps keep moving forward. The bureaucratization of processes, as is involved in the allocating land and construction development, often delays advances. But the students keep the faith: “We are determined to move to the land as soon as possible”, says Edgar, President of OEPIAP and indigenous Kichwa student (pictured on the left, below).

Your donations and support to this campaign continue to provide a much necessary fuel for the realization of this youth’s dream and to cover some of their most urgent necessities – such as lobby work and covering the travel costs of OEPIAP student leaders to meetings with different actors. Over the past month, student leaders have been in intensive meetings to define the terms of a new agreement between the regional government and University of The Peruvian Amazon (UNAP). Much like the former agreement, which expired in December 2017, the new agreement being drafted outlines the regional government and university’s commitments to cover or contribute to housing, food, transport, security, health, admission and interculturality for the students. With so many previous commitments left unfulfilled, the students know that constant political pressure will have to be maintained in order to ensure that the authorities stay true to their word and honour intercultural education beyond signed papers.

Your donations also mean we’ve been able to reinitiate a regular women’s circle, following the request of indigenous female students of OEPIAP. Aged between 16 and 24 years old, women represent just 10% of the indigenous student organization and often face gender discrimination in their communities and in the city, making it all the more difficult to access higher education. “Every indigenous woman has the right to study”, says Leonarda, a Ticuna student. “The women's circles provide an important space for empowerment and personal development for these young indigenous women”, says Sandra, Chaikuni’s Student Monitor who guides the women's circles through thematic discussions, experience sharing, education, art, healing and music.

Empowerment of the indigenous student organization OEPIAP is at the core of our mission. Strengthening identity, honouring indigenous knowledge and increasing the visibility of indigenous students in Iquitos and beyond are a vital part of this empowerment work, and find beautiful expression in the newly released music video ‘Babel’, a production created in collaboration with indigenous media Radio Ucamara, OEPIAP and with support of Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM). This unique and exceptional music video unites 9 indigenous youth singing and rapping in 7 indigenous languages including Kukama, Wampis, Kandozi, Awajún, Kichwa, Ticuna and Shawi. Read about it here and watch the video now!

We'll keep you updated with the latest news as we continue to run our campaign for the full goal of $24,000.

If you gave a gift to the campaign during our End of Year Fundraiser, then we hope you’re enjoying listening to our sister organization The Temple of The Way Of Light’s new album of Ayahuasca Ikaro songs featuring indigenous Shipibo healers, sent as a thank you for gifts over $33 made during this period. You can also now get the album here, 50% of all proceeds will go to Chaikuni’s Intercultural Education program.

We thank you for everything you continue to do to support indigenous youth, who are the future of the Amazon.

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 & Love,

The Chaikuni Institute Team & Indigenous Students of OEPIAP

 

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Organization Information

Instituto Chaikuni

Location: Iquitos, Loreto - Peru
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Chaikuni
Project Leader:
Alienor de Sas
Iquitos, Loreto Peru
$11,754 raised of $24,000 goal
 
152 donations
$12,246 to go
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