Alianza Arkana has been working with the Shipibo school in the native community of Puerto Firmeza for eighteen months to develop a truly intercultural school that incorporates both the Western classroom-based education model, as well as Shipibo traditions and cosmovision into the school curriculum. The school, and its surrounding five hectares of land (donated by the local community), is divided into 8 distinct learning zones that teach the children about traditional agriculture, medicinal plants, food forests, arts, etc.
In one of these zones, children learn about the stories, legends, dances, myths and craft traditions of their culture, taught by Shipibo elders. Early this year, Alianza Arkana received a small grant from the Rubin Foundation to construct a traditional building, called a maloka, that would serve as the ¨Cultural Center¨ where these teachings would take place.
The construction of the maloka was community based, and we worked in direct partnership with a committee of parents, who established the budget and who were responsible for the sourcing of materials and the construction of the maloka. Alianza Arkana approved the budget, monitored all spending via the collection of receipts and supervised the overall construction.
The maloka was successfully built in four weeks using traditional materials and building techniques; for example, joints were made from natural bindings found in the local jungle.
The community of Puerto Firmeza, recognizing the importance and success of the work being done, has now donated a further five hectares of land to the school. We plan to grow more food crops in this land, as well as cotton to provide the raw material for the production of clothing by the students using traditional weaving techniques.
Monday, 27 August 2012