Sápara Nation Community Initiative Projects
The Sápara are an indigenous tribe in the Amazon rainforest, along the border of Ecuador and Peru between the Pastaza and Napo River. Once a nation of 200,000, there are currently less than 500 people remaining. Most speak Kichwa as their primary language, and only five elders still speak the traditional Sápara language.
The Sápara Nation of Ecuador is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” because their language and culture are in danger of disappearing.
Sápara communities are in communication with the outside world via UHF Radio and the Internet, even from their remote forest location, and are working in partnership with global organizations to support their communities, and defend their rights and the rights of nature.
The initial projects of Raising The World are focused on supporting and collaborating with communities of the Sápara Nation.
SAPARA EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
This project is to provide ongoing funding for an educational system within the Sápara Nation, in several of their communities deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. Community leaders have worked to establish an educational system that allows Sápara children to receive a primary education while continuing to live in their home communities. An educational system provided in the territory can integrate a methodology that is appropriate to the indigenous community's culture and lifestyle, providing knowledge and skills from the territory alongside the disciplines of western education. A fundamental portion of the educational program is to include Sápara culture and language in the students' curriculum. Providing educational opportunities within the territory will reduce the migration of young people to the cities and contribute to supporting thriving communities in the jungle. The funding for this project will go towards a teacher's salary, school house and supplies, tuition and other materials and equipment that allows the school to continue to function properly, maintaining and allowing continuity and access to a quality education system for the Sápara people.
LLANCHAMACOCHA COMMUNITY BIRTH CENTER
This project is to provide funding and resources for a birth center in the Sápara Nation. This birth center will be built within the ancestral homelands of the Sápara people, in the Llanchamacocha community. Sápara women will have the resources to be give birth in their home community and be attended to by a trained birth worker who is also from the same community. Having a modern birth center within the confines of the community provides a safe and clean environment for women to give birth close to home. A modern birth center will also provide the opportunity for Sápara women to obtain birth certificates from the Ecuadorian government for their children born in the jungle. As it stands now, women must leave their home communities and travel hundreds of miles to the nearest city to give birth in order to obtain birth certificates for their babies. This causes significant upheaval in both the family’s life and that of the community. Women are separated from their support networks, are subject to high stress loads, and experience an increased incidence of cesarean delivery. This project will contribute funds to support the development and construction of the birth center, and a training program for birth attendants.
SCHOOL OF TRADITIONAL WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE
This project is to support the development of the School of Traditional Wisdom and Knowledge, an institution that will be centered on teachings of indigenous Amazonian culture and life ways in order to preserve Sápara heritage and facilitate cultural exchange with the global community. The Sápara feel their role is to learn and transmit their knowledge of the forest to humanity, with the goal of discovering a new connection with the forest that provides life sustaining resources. The Amazon rainforest is currently under siege by development and speculation, and many indigenous communities are losing a way of life along with their ancestral lands. Kamungishi is a large parcel of land within the Sápara territory, and is composed of forests and lagoons of vast diversity. It is considered sacred lands by the Sápara Nation. Leaders within the Sápara Nation have the vision to build a School of Traditional Wisdom and Knowledge within the Kamungishi lands. This is a place where members of the Sápara community will be taught by elders about their roots, ancestral knowledge, spirituality, indigenous language and traditions of the Sápara culture. People from all over the world will also be able to travel into this place in the heart of the Amazon rainforest to learn the knowledge and teachings of the Sápara at the school within Kamungishi. This community led initiative will provide educational opportunities that support the transmission of traditional indigenous practices, spirituality, language and ways of life to Sápara community members and individuals from the global community.