Monday, July 29, 2019

Amazon Pueblo Student Scholarship Program: Summer update

This week we return to the Amazon!  Here is an update on what is happening with the project.

The Student Scholarship Program

The Colombian Amazon has some of the greatest natural resources in the world. But the indigenous people who live there are extremely poor. We believe that through education they can improve their lives and help them to live sustainably in one of the most beautiful jungles on Earth.

One of our first student in the program.  She has been studying, with our help, for three years.  Starting in La Libertad, she now goes to school in the jungle city of Leticia.  Leticia offers more days of school per year.

Sometimes a student of the community schools in the tri-border region of the Amazon may strongly desire to attend school but is not able to do so. While students do not pay to attend public school, they must supply their own uniforms, shoes, 12 notebooks, pens, pencils, art supplies, and other small school-related expenses during the year. Their families are not able to meet these expenses.

Our January 2018 trip to Leticia to do the school shopping.  Over 20 people (14 students and parents) were in our 38-foot wooden boat.  Unfortunately, our boat is nearing the end of its life.  Even with maintenance, wooden boats rarely last past three years, due to rot in the extreme climate.  This August I hope to repair it and get at least another six months of service.  We are looking at getting a smaller, aluminum boat soon.

The Amazon Pueblo Sponsor a Student Program helps these students to attend school. For $110/year a student's expenses may be met. The Amazon Pueblo project will use the funds to directly buy and give the materials to the student. The teachers will monitor the attendance and progress of each student.

Muchos notebooks!  Depending on what grade they are in, our student need between 6 and 10 notebooks.  This store is called El Regalia.  We do the majority of our shopping here.  They have almost everything our kids need, very good prices, and they give good receipts!

We supported 23 students for the 2018/2019 school year!  Our students are indigenous youth who live in La Libertad and Leticia in Colombia, Caballococha in Peru, and in Tabatinga, Brazil.  We hope to raise this to at least 25 students for the next school year.

Shopping!  But the days can be long.  It takes an average of three hours to do all the shopping.  That may not include a half-hour wait when the lines are bad.

Freddy with our two Brazillian students.  They do half of the shopping in Leticia and the other half (uniforms) in the bordering city of Tabatinga.  I must work on speaking Portuguese!

One of our newer students from the village of Km18, upriver from Leticia.

When we can, we offer enrichment activities for the students.  Here we visited the science and technology museum in Bogota, Colombia.  These trips help to raise the kids' awareness of the outside world.

Thank you letters

Each year our students write thank you letter to their sponsors.  They often include drawings and sometimes handcrafts made by the kids.

Without TV/electronics for the majority of the day, the kids have the time to put into thank you notes and drawings. 

Almost all of the children make handcrafts to sell to tourist.  This helps the families to meet their basic needs.

What is interesting to note is the improvement year-by-year of the letters.  The last two letters in this post are written by the same boy.  Please note the improvement, which is exactly what we are looking for!

Many of our students love to draw.

A great letter with drawings.

And a letter from a Portugese-speaking student.

This letter was written in 2017 by one of the boys.

This letter was written by the same boy in 2018.  A great improvement!

Employment for Our Students

One they graduate from school, one of the problems our student have is not being able to find good work.  We believe one solution to this is to produce cacao (chocolate).  Cacao originated in the Amazon.  It may be cultivated by techniques that are familiar and learnable by the people.  The education our students attain can be put to use by having sustainable chocolate production, allowing the youth to have good-paying work in their communities.

Amazon Pueblo is helping to promote the cacao business in the Colombian Amazon.

We helped to plant over 200 cacao seedling in La Libertad and the community of Km18.


Would you like to sponsor a student or to help with our operating expenses?  Please join us on our biggest day of fundraising, Giving Tuesday (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday).  We fund the majority of our scholarships on this day.

Please remember us on Tuesday, November 26, 2019.

We also have an annual benefit Piranha Party in Midcoast Maine each fall.  Last year it was held at Flatbread Pizza in Rockport, Maine.  Great pizza. live jazz music, handcrafts/emeralds, and an emerald jewelry auction are all part of the event.  I will send information when we have a definite time and location.

The outside of Flatbread Company Pizza in Rockport, Maine.

A small selection of our handcrafts.

And last, we sell emerald jewelry and gems to support the project.  We sell at craft fairs, our annual event, and by appointment.

Emeralds!  The best emeralds in the world are mined in Colombia.

A short video of our last school shopping trip.  Thank you, Freddy (the director of Funmi-roca, our partner organization in Leticia) for helping with this outing!

No comments:

Post a Comment