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
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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Film workshop with OEPIAPs indigenous students
Film workshop with OEPIAPs indigenous students

Dear Friends and Supporters

Despite the continuously difficult situation throughout Peru caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are somewhat relieved that our country is currently vaccinating people aged between 55-60. This includes the population in the Amazon, and, although it is a little messy and complicated to get vaccinated for many of the villagers in the Amazon, efforts are being made to achieve it.

The young students of the OEPIAP have just finished the second semester of 2020 and are on holidays until July 04 when the next cycle (2021-1) begins. Some of them travelled to their home communities, while others stayed in the student residence. They definitely had a better semester than the previous one, telling us that they are getting used to and coping better with the virtual classes. We hope that this will reflect in their grades.

During the months of January, February and March, the local University (UNAP) held the admission exams for the year 2021. Many young people, newly graduated from high school in their communities, arrived in the city and joined the OEPIAP, with the dream of entering university or a technical institute. According to our data, 58 young people registered for the entry exams, including some that were unable to enter last year. 53 took the exam, of which 20 were admitted to university or a technical college.

Those who did not get admitted returned to their communities and those who enter become official members of the OEPIAP. At the same time, 10 youth who didn´t make the entry exams stayed in the temporary student residence of OEPIAP to prepare for the various pre-university academies.

For the latter, the Chaikuni Institute offered specific tutoring classes in May to support them in their preparation classes, specifically on math subjects. This is in addition to the permanent academic reinforcement classes that we have been offering for the students enrolled in university courses from January throughout May. In total, Chaikuni has provided 13 Advanced Mathematics sessions, 23 Basic Mathematics sessions, 11 Physics sessions, 10 Statistics sessions, 8 Research methodology sessions and individual tutoring, 3 English classes, and a specific Excel training session.

In addition to academic subjects, OEPIAP´s students are currently taking part in a community film workshops, run by "SachaCine" in collaboration with the Chaikuni Institute, in which they will make four short films about different situations faced by indigenous youth. The products will be shared very soon with the students, but also to the public in Iquitos, in a special "canoe cinema" event, where the short films will be presented on a floating platform with a video screen placed in the Itaya River, where it is visible from the shore. It's an innovative idea and we're all eager to participate. You can follow SachaCine on their social media, and we are sure to share a link to the videos in the next report.

From the political realm, we can tell you that we continue with the accompaniment and advice to the board of directors of the OEPIAP. During these last months, meetings were held with UNAP representatives to coordinate the future indigenous student residence. We also organized a visit to the land ceded to the organization with the Contempla N/M Architects to explore the land as a first step to move forward with the design.

As the COVID infection rate goes down and life slowly becomes seemingly more normal, we are sure that our activities will pick up speed over the coming weeks. Many exciting things are ahead, such as a large workshops related to leadership of indigenous women, including OEPIAP´s female students.

As always, we are immensely grateful for your support to the future leaders of the Amazon, and will keep you posted about the developments of our program.

With gratitude,

The Indigenous Students of OEPIAP and The Chaikuni Institute Team

Learn how to make a movie - workshop flyer
Learn how to make a movie - workshop flyer
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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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Organization Information

Instituto Chaikuni

Location: Iquitos, Loreto - Peru
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Chaikuni
Project Leader:
Milton Lopez
Iquitos, Loreto Peru
$20,506 raised of $35,000 goal
 
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