During our last visit to the Shipibo community of Paohyan we held workshops with children and young people and learned together the importance of pursuing our dreams without forgetting our roots.
Approximately 30 young people between 12 and 18 years old attended. Due to the great interest generated, 15 children between 3 and 5 years old joined. We started our workshops with a little movement and dance so that they could express themselves and then each child elaborated, with their own hands, a dream catcher while they imagined all the dreams they would like to achieve. At the end of the day we saw a movie, "Moana", which is about an indigenous girl who leaves to save her community. This film discussed a relevant topic in a child-friendly format, which consisted of having dreams and expectations for oneself, all the while maintaining the connection and commitment with one's community. This brings us to the other important factor in our workshop, which was to preserve the knowledge patrimony of the community. For this reason, we sang songs in Shipibo.
We also presented to the young people our community project, "Farmacia Viva", which is being developed together with a committee of community members of Paohyan. This project seeks to conserve a territory full of medicinal and functional plants, which have an important role in the identity of indigenous people. This project not only provides the community with a source of economic revenue through ecotourism, but also helps children appreciate and revalue ancestral knowledge.
Through seemingly simple activities, such as expressing oneself through dance or creating items (such as dreamcatchers), the children learned something very valuable - the idea of developing an independent identity in cohesion with their heritage. All this was presented in a fun and interactive way.
In the last month, Alianza Arkana has held several workshops in Paoyhan aimed at different demographic groups to enhance the skills and capacity of the community members and community organizers and empower them to make greater changes in Paoyhan:
The first workshop served a group of 35 women artesans with the dual purposes of learning new skills, and helping their artesan collective organize itself. They are hoping to formalize their group by registering publicly as an organization, which will give them access to different markets and fairs in Pucallpa, and they are eventually hoping to build a storefront location in the village focused solely on selling artesania. We will continue working with this group of women on brainstorming ideas for furthering their collective.
A hip-hop workshop we organized for youth in the community engaged over 75 people in collectively making music that highlighted pride in their indigenous language and culture, while also generating productive and impactful discussions about issues of racism, rights, and justice.
We are working closely with a group of dedicated community members who have formed a committee with the purpose of conserving their forest land, protecting it from exploitation, and generating a potentially sustainable source of income for the community through the creation of a community forest medicinal plants garden. Through a series of meetings with the committee-members and the local authorities, we have been assisting them through the process of realizing this project - the first of its kind in the community - so capacity-building for the committee members to execute a large project of this kind has been very important. The committee members are very excited about this project - please see more details here if you would like to support this project specifically: Donate Now to Farmacia Viva.
Lastly, we have been involved with several workshops and events to help get the people of Paoyhan registered with the public health insurance that they are entitled to, but many are lacking. This has also entailed educating families about what their rights are with regards to healthcare and how to navigate Peru's healthcare system, which is notoriously racist and extortionate.
After a successful workshop about regenerative solutions in the village of Paoyhan in 2017, the community decided to form a committee to steward 5 hectares of their community forest, in order to make it a medicinal plant forest. They decided to do so in order to improve local health, to revitalize plant medicine use, and to generate sustainable incomes for themselves that would go beyond logging and forest destruction. Protecting plant medicines and develop sustainable incomes from them offer villagers an ecological alternative to logging and industrial agriculture jobs. They are based on regeneration of species and the planting of species that are not there anymore.
This past month, the committee organized themselves to demarcate the designated land. We are proud of this team of self organizing villagers, and are happy to support them with technical assistance and initial financial support. The idea is for this project is to make it self sustainable by creating a research center for ethnobotanical knowledge and biology in the long-term. This will not only make important research happen, but also generate jobs within the community which prevents rural to urban migration. We hope this living farmacy thrives!
All pictures were taken by Segundo Franco, president of the committee.
Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.