Most of the mistakes made by forest natives are due to a lack of knowledge or a lack of understanding of the regulations and methods used in the “civilized world”.
This ignorance is shamelessly exploited by politicians and industry alike and results in corruption and loss of intact living spaces. On the other hand, education is still a privilege for young indigenous people and their families. A great deal is needed for them to catch up! AMAZONICA offers them the necessary education, from elementary school to college, in the fields of agriculture and trade.
AMAZONICA currently supports more than 50 student aids.
© Barbara Dombrowski
© Dieter Menzel
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Our activities in detail
Children attending elementary school are educated bilingually – in native languages and Spanish – and learn to read, write and do math. Many children cannot afford to go to school as they do not have enough money to pay the mandatory tuition fees. Because the first schools located in the forest have been set up only recently, the illiteracy rate among indigenous people is very high. AMAZONICA teaches young children and adults independently of public schooling.
Some of the native grandparents decide to go back to elementary school after completing literacy classes and now attend school together with their grandchildren.
State operated public elementary schools in the forest villages are ugly and inefficient. Most of them are old wooden shacks with tin roofs and no electricity, water or toilets. The natives call them cages. On hot days, the classes are interrupted at eleven o’clock because it gets unbearably hot under the tin roof. And during a tropical rain shower it gets too loud to understand a single word of the teacher.
For this reason, in those villages cooperating with AMAZONICA new schools are provided in the traditional architectural style with flooring, electric lights, running water and lavatories. Every year, teaching materials are restocked.
For those secondary level students who wish to continue on to post-secondary education, the opportunities in the forest are rare and of low quality. But it is very expensive for forest natives to attend a good school in the city. For many Shuar and Achuar, our foundation pays all tuition fees up to high school graduation.
Those who wish to study at a university must have a diploma with high marks and select a subject of study that will benefit the forest community in the long run. Of course, the course of study should also ensure that the subsequent career will guarantee a sufficient income.
The trades and other careers
There are training courses for those natives who want to learn a trade. Basic courses are normally held in the villages to make sure the largest possible number of villagers can participate. Qualified natives who are really prepared for professional training are sponsored by AMAZONICA to attend courses in the provincial capitals, including internships at specialized companies. That way, more and more natives become mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and tailors (mostly women) and start family businesses in their villages. There are also courses for tour guides and paramedics as cooks.
Occasional workshops are held as needed regarding subjects of concern to the respective community, mainly the role of women and family planning, as well as future orientation, community development, social behavior, solidarity and environmental conservation.
Consultation by experts who have temporary contracts with AMAZONICA is offered with regard to ecological sanitation, agriculture, new technologies and maintenance.