By Paul Roberts - Director of Intercultural Education
We are continuing to make good progress in creating a new model for intercultural education at this pilot school project known as “Soi Sani” of 120 students in the indigenous Shipibo community of Puerto Firmeza in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have been able to advance on four significant fronts in the last few months:
We completed the construction of six organic compost latrines during the school holidays at the start of this year. On return to their school in March, the students were taught how to use these toilets. Apart from providing a much better experience than the dirty, unhygienic toilets that previously existed, these toilets will also produce manure that can used in the permaculture project in the school grounds.
We have begun the construction of a traditional kitchen and workshop area on the edge of the school grounds. This kitchen will be used by the nutritionist working with us to give classes on nutrition and cooking for 15 people at a time to 80 children at the school and 30 of their mothers.
We are planting vegetable crops such as carrots, onions, cabbage, spinach, lettuce and tomato to provide some of the basic ingredients for the cooking/nutrition classes. In addition, we will be running a three-day workshop to teach 15 members of the community how to plant and grow these crops for themselves.
At the beginning of the new school year in March, we gave each one of the eight teachers at the school a small budget to enable them to purchase basic teaching materials such as pens and papers.
This new model of education is important as it combines the practical teaching of traditional agricultural practices based on permaculture principles with the Peruvian State education curriculum. By doing this, we are developing an innovative model of “productive education”. Additionally, the children will receive classes about the arts and crafts of their own culture and its cosmovision.
Many thanks to our donors who are enabling us to continue this important work, which helps preserve and strengthen a unique indigenous culture as well as help create food security and diminish malnutrition by developing the capacity of the students and their parents to grow their own nutritious food. And especial thanks to the donors who give monthly as this is invaluable in helping us plan ahead.
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