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