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