COVID-19  Peru Project #26871

Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19

by Instituto Chaikuni
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19
Support Indigenous Students in the Face of COVID19

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We hope you had a great start into the new year! While our country is going through a very tragic period of political turmoil and unrest, we start the year strong and continue to support the indigenous students in Iquitos.

Since we last wrote to you, in which we told you about the very gratifying news of a few indigenous students graduating, two more young men, Matses and Awajún respectively, finished their technical studies in accounting. Meanwhile, a young Awajún woman, Orfelinda, obtained her professional degree as a preschool teacher. After graduating, Orfelinda went on to write and finish a thesis, necessary here in Peru to receive a professional degree (as opposed to simply graduating from university). She is only the second woman of the OEPIAP to achieve this, after Floida, a Kichwa woman from the Putumayo River, did so in 2019. Orfelinda was very active in the OEPIAP and sat on their board during one period, during which she worked closely with our program. We are extremely happy for her and wish her the very best for her future career.

Slowly making up for the delay the pandemic caused to the academic calendar, the local public university, the UNAP, started the 2nd semester of 2022 last month, which will end in March. This means that the academic year is no longer half a year behind but is slowly starting to level out. For the new semester, new indigenous youth arrived in Iquitos city and the organization of indigenous students, OEPIAP, with the dream to continue their studies and enter university or a technical college. Many of them have already taken their admission exams and are waiting for the results.

The other young indigenous students continue to work hard every day to continue their studies, some of them advancing according to their study plan, others at a slower but steady pace. To support them, we continue to offer tutoring classes: Basic math, advanced math, differential equations, statistics; General, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, and analytical chemistry. As you can appreciate, the courses went from being general to being more specific and diverse due to the demand of the students as they progress through their studies.

The first beneficiary of the agreement we signed with the Faculty of Forestry of the UNAP, Lorena, has successfully finished her internship with our permaculture program, which the UNAP officially recognizes. We currently have another Awajún student as an intern, and we expect several more students to follow over the coming years.

In November we co-organized a Stop Motion workshop in partnership with the British Academy, in which 9 indigenous youth participated and created 2 animated videos. One of them told the Awajún story of "Iwa", while the other group decided to portray the tragic story of recurrent oil spills in their communities. We hope to be able to share a link in our next report where you may see these animated short films.

We would like to finish by mentioning that OEPIAP, as an indigenous organization, is not indifferent to the unfortunate events that our country is currently going through. In view of this, the youth have been participating in different peaceful demonstrations in the city of Iquitos, showing their rejection of the current government, and expressing their solidarity with the victims of police repression. Over the past we have recurrently supported workshops on basic citizen rights and the promotion of critical attitudes and reflection of social and political events.

On behalf of the students of the OEPIAP, we thank you for all your continued support to the future leaders of the Amazon.

With much gratitude


The Chaikuni Team

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Roldan Tumi is the first Matses Anthropologist
Roldan Tumi is the first Matses Anthropologist

Dear Friends and Supporters

Still about four months delayed because of the COVID pandemic, the 2022 academic year at the public university (UNAP) of our region began in June and will end next month. The young indigenous students of OEPIAP enthusiastically started their classes this semester. Many have made it quite far already in this difficult process to graduate from higher education. These are good news, because the further along indigenous students make it in their studies, the smaller becomes their dropout rate.

We are happy to tell you that over the last months, two young indigenous graduates have presented and approved their final theses. One of them is Roldan Tumi, who became the first anthropologist of the Matsés people. The other, Edgar Peas, of the Achuar people, graduated last week with a degree in Tropical Forest Ecology. Both were part of OEPIAP´s Board of Directors in the period 2017-2019, as secretary and president respectively, and as such collaborated closely with our program. We know both well and are very proud on their behalf. They are future leaders of their people, of the Amazon, and role models for the younger Amazonian generation to follow.

One of the priorities of our Intercultural Education program is to assist the indigenous students to get scholarships. 03 additional students graduated this year, and just as Roldan and Edgar, they managed to obtain a scholarship to write and complete their thesis. Thanks to our guidance and support, 11 new students also obtained scholarships from the Peruvian state, bringing the total to 22 OPEIAP students who are currently on scholarships. Over the last months we also continued to offer specialized tutoring classes, providing 24 sessions of Basic Mathematics and 5 sessions of Analytical Chemistry, crucial for some of the students to pass their courses. In addition, we held two workshops on interculturality.

Another gratifying accomplishment is that our Institute signed an agreement with the Faculty of Forestry of the UNAP. From here onwards, practices, internships, and thesis work of individual students, which are carried out at our Permaculture Center, will be formally recognized by the UNAP. We moreover expect that this agreement can be extended to more faculties in the future. As a start, last month, Lorena, an indigenous awajún Tropical Forest Ecology student did her first pre-professional internship with us.

Finally, we have started a new monthly series of articles on the personal stories of some of the indigenous students of the OEPIAP, demonstrating the potential, resilience, and creativity of many of these young students. First up is the inspiring story of Felicino, an Awajún student, who found a way to overcome economic difficulties by creating his own small handicraft business “YAAS”, partially with the support of Chaikuni. Read more about Felicino here.

Thank you so much for your much needed continuous support to the indigenous students of the OEPIAP.

With much appreciation and gratitude.

 

The Chaikuni Team

Traditional Awajun handicrafts to pay for studies
Traditional Awajun handicrafts to pay for studies
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The OEPIAP learned digital tools for them.
The OEPIAP learned digital tools for them.

Here in Peru, the month of April means entry exams to higher education institutions. Unfortunately, it was complicated this time. Of more than 30 new indigenous youth which arrived in Iquitos and the student organization OEPIAP, with the dream to pursue higher education in their baggage, only 13 managed to pass the entry exam and enter university or a technical college.

It’s an unusual low number of indigenous youths that pass the admission exams, because of the high demand and great competition between applicants on one hand, and the limited vacancies on the preferential modality “indigenous people” on the other. The preferential modality usually offers a fairer chance for indigenous youth, since they only compete with other indigenous applicants, which have had similar preparation in their communities, as opposed to youth that has grown up and studied in cities. Nonetheless, this preferential quota has not been increased over the past years, although the number of applicants has grown. 

The young people who are already enrolled and studying just finishing the 2021-2 cycle. We have been monitoring this group closely and have offered personalized support. We started to offer academic tutoring in January, and up to date have provided 13 Basic Mathematics tutoring lessons, 4 Statistics lessons and 11 Chemistry lessons, crucial in the time of preparation for exams. Coordinating these classes, however, always poses a challenge, due to the different levels and study schedules of the beneficiaries.  

Our project staff also continued to advise the board of the OEPIAP, both on strategic and administrative issues, such as reporting of expenses, updating the membership database, handling of internal and external affairs. One of the most important external advocacy processes revolves around their formal agreement with the regional government (GOREL) and the local university (UNAP). Among others, this agreement guarantees housing, food, and decent study conditions to the students. There has, however, been disputes with regards to the implementation of the agreement, and the students staged a protest to demand the agreement be implemented correctly, in line with their demands. Negotiations have also started with regards to the renewal of the agreement – a fundamental process.  

Finally, in the end of April, Chaikuni´s communication staff led an intercultural communication workshop for 13 young people from the OEPIAP. The objective of this workshop was for young people to recognize the potential of current communication tools, which are readily available to them, such as smart phones, facebook, and other social media. These simple tools can be great allies in their advocacy efforts. During the two-day workshop, they were provided with several examples of institutions and/or cases in which the social networks are the basis for their operation and maintenance, as well as practical exercises on how put forth their demands as an indigenous student organization.

As always, we thank you for your continuous support to the indigenous students in Iquitos. Without you, we couldn´t do this work.

 

With gratitude,

The Indigenous Students of OEPIAP and The Chaikuni Institute Team

Student Monitor and OEPIAP during the workshop.
Student Monitor and OEPIAP during the workshop.
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Awajun students showed their traditional dance.
Awajun students showed their traditional dance.

Dear Friends and Supporters

We hope you are in good health and that you´ve had a great start into the new year. Here in Peru, Omicron is on the rise, but fortunately its health impact does not seem as strong as in the previous two COVID waves. Close to 70% of the Peruvian population is now fully vaccinated.  

The 2021-I academic semester of our local public university, the UNAP, ended in November, so the indigenous students of the OEPIAP have been on vacation since then. However, the new semester, the second one of 2021, is just starting now. (The studies are still half a year behind schedule due the pandemic)

During their vacations, many students traveled to their communities to see their families.At the same time, new young applicants arrived at the city of Iquitos and the OEPIAP with the dream to continue their studies and enter university or a technical college. So far, more than 30 youth has arrived, and more are likely to come over the next two months, preparing for the admission exams.

Chaikuni has been supporting the young students all along the way with extra tutoring classes in a range of subjects. Until the end the year, we had offered 53 classes of Basic Mathematics, 28 classes of Advanced Mathematics, 27 classes of Physics, 21 classes of Statistics, 5 classes of Chemistry, and 25 classes of Mathematics for applicants. Now we are coordinating the start of the academic tutoring for the new semester.

In November, the Organization of the Indigenous Students (OEPIAP) organized a series of activities to celebrate their 18 years of institutional life. The anniversary event included conversations on indigenous youth and higher education, sports, puppet theaters, traditional dance, and singing and beauty contests. These types of events promote reflection on identity, integration, and a sense of belonging to the organization. Chaikuni was present to support in different ways, as presenters, jurors, allies, and friends.

Also in November, we organized an important audiovisual workshop with indigenous women and female students at the facilities of our permaculture center, in the rainforest outside of Iquitos. The product of this 4-day event is a short film with testimonies of indigenous, addressing many of the challenges and problems they face. We thereafter visited six Kukama communities along the lower Marañon River, with the protagonists of the short film, where we screened the movie and encouraged discussions on gender.

And finally, we have some more exciting news to share. Our project with the indigenous students was elected by GlobalGiving as project of the month for this month of February, from a pool of more than 5,000 nonprofit projects in 170+ countries. We are honored and very grateful for this selection, which gives us new motivation and some important additional funding to keep doing what we do.

Thanks so much for your continuous support to the indigenous youth in Iquitos, and for the trust in the Chaikuni Institute to accompany them. You help us keep going.

With much gratitude and optimism,

The Indigenous Students of OEPIAP and The Chaikuni Institute Team

SachaCine teach cinema lessons.
SachaCine teach cinema lessons.
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The "canoa cinema" was over a platform.
The "canoa cinema" was over a platform.

Dear Friends and Supporters

We hope this report from the field finds you all well. Although the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Peru are progressing faster than expected, the indigenous population is a particularly difficult group to reach. This month, however, the government’s vaccination campaign targeted OEPIAP, and 35 young students decided to get their first dose. This situation slowly allows the return to some normality.

In the previous report, we briefly mentioned some of the exciting upcoming activities, such as the "canoa cinema" event and the indigenous women's workshop where the young female students of the OEPIAP were going to participate.

With more than 100 people joining the event and attentively watching the movies from their canoes, the “canoa cinema” was a great success. The young indigenous students who participated as directors, producers, and protagonists in several short films, had the opportunity to present themselves and their products on this extraordinary stage: an outdoor venue in the Belén neighborhood in Iquitos, which at this time of the year is entirely flooded. So, the only way to attend this event was by boat. The students spoke about the importance of making visible the problems faced by the indigenous population, especially young students, and women. The young women, some of whom also made their own short film, took the opportunity to raise their voices about the violence exerted against indigenous women, the prevailing machismo that they experience, and the difficulties that this causes in their current trajectories of studying in the city of Iquitos.

Shortly after this event, June 10to 13, a group of these young female students from the OEPIAP also participated in the empowerment workshop of Indigenous Women's Organizations, organized by the Chaikuni Institute. They were joined by four local women's organizations: Huayna Kana Kamatahuara Kana, Organization of Indigenous Women of the Marañón (ORDEMIM), Association of Indigenous Women of Saramuro (AMISAM) and Federation of Women Artisans of Loreto (FEMIAL), representing a total of 28 indigenous women. The objective of this workshop was to empower these indigenous female leaders on the personal, community and political levels. Shortly after the workshop, OEPIAP’s female students had a presentation meeting with the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP) in July, where they agreed to hold workshops during the last quarter of this year, creating a growing and ever stronger network of indigenous female leaders.

Furthermore, in July, the OEPIAP held elections for a new board of directors 2021-2023. Two candidate lists were presented, one led by a Ticuna woman, Leonarda Suárez Guerrero. The latter went on to win the elections, becoming the first female president of the organization since its creation in 2003. Our team is assisting the students in the transition process from the old to the new leadership, providing support with formalities and offering organizational training to the new – young and yet unexperienced – board members.

In the end of July, coinciding with the start of classes for the 2021-1 semester of UNAP, the local university, we resumed our reinforcement classes which we continue to this day. In total, Chaikuni has offered 10 Advanced Mathematics sessions, 10 Physics sessions, 20 Basic Mathematics sessions, and 8 Statistics sessions. In addition, 18 Mathematics sessions have been offered for young applicants to the university. We also continue with our constant personal academic monitoring and follow up of the students. As part of our activities to promote micro-entrepreneurship, we furthermore held 5 Business Plans workshops in which 6 indigenous youths participated. Likewise, 2 students, Gimena and Jose, are doing their pre-professional internships in the Permaculture program of our Institute. And finally, accompanied by our team, 2 more young people managed to obtain scholarships over the last three months, resulting in a total of 9 young people from the OEPIAP with scholarships to date.

We couldn´t do all of this without you. Thank you for being a part of this. Thank you for supporting the indigenous students in Iquitos.

With gratitude,

OEPIAP and The Chaikuni Team

Indigenous women painted their ideal world.
Indigenous women painted their ideal world.

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Organization Information

Instituto Chaikuni

Location: Iquitos, Loreto - Peru
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Chaikuni
Project Leader:
Milton Lopez
Iquitos, Loreto Peru
$21,420 raised of $35,000 goal
 
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