Banana tree bearing fruit at Santa Clara
Our volunteer, Lucy, who had been living in the Shipibo community of Santa Clara, and coordinating our educational there, sadly left Peru in September to return to the USA. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Lucy for all the work she has done to create such a fertile foundation from which to work with this community.
This fertile ground is now bearing many fruits, both literally, as the fruit trees in the permaculture project attached to the primary school begin to produce, and figuratively, as this project becomes a model for other educational initiatives with Shipibo people.
Thankfully, we have two new very capable young German volunteers, Anna and Antonia, beginning work in the same community, who started with us around the time that Lucy left. They will be with us for a year between leaving school and starting university.
We have also seen a change in the school teaching staff. There is now a new primary school teacher there called Rusber offering classes to around 30 children in one classroom of six grades. He is from the same community of Santa Clara and deeply committed to educating the children in a way that strengthens their cultural identity.
In collaboration with Rusber, and alongside Soraya, our French/Australian communications coordinator, Anna and Antonia have been working the last two months to run environmental educational workshops. These have used drawing to teach the children about pollination and have also involved planting flowers in the community to attract bees. Additionally, the same team of people have created a musical instrument playground very near the school using entirely recycled material.
Because of these recent initiatives, and the connection of education to permaculture that we have been developing in this community for over a year and a half, this project is beginning to attract greater attention within the wider Shipibo community.
This has led to the planning of a visit to this project on 26th November, when Profesor Eli Sánchez, one of the leading Shipibo educators and also a key adviser to Alianza Arkana, will be bringing a group of 20 teachers and local indigenous leaders to witness this project at first hand. This is part of the work Profesor Eli Sánchez is doing as leader of the intercultural education initiative that ORAU - the regional indigenous political organization - is now taking.
The plan is that, after the visit, the teachers will implement similar projects in the schools in their communities they are working in, supported by ORAU. We are delighted as it was always our intention that the educational projects we create can be models for other projects. We are even more delighted that this intitiative is now being led by a regional indigenous organization and not an NGO.
Part of the recycled musical instruments project
Mothers and children at Santa Clara
Part of the AA team at the Santa Clara anniversary