As part of our mission to help strengthen and preserve the Shipibo culture, with its rich traditions, crafts and unique cosmovision, Alianza Arkana is helping create Shipibo professionals with strong personal roots in their indigenous cultural identity.
In January 2012, we began our scholarship program, awarding eight Shipibo young people scholarships to both begin and continue the two Degree courses in Intercultural Education at kindergarten and primary level at the Universidad Nacional Intercultural de la Amazonía (UNIA) in Pucallpa – the first indigenous university in Peru.
Our aim is to create teachers committed to intercultural education in which Shipibo children have the benefits of both a high quality Western-based education, as the Peruvian National curriculum demands, whilst at the same time learning about and valuing their own culture in all its richness.
In 2014, we are awarding a further five scholarships. This time we are extending the scholarships to include Degree Programs in Law, Environmental Sciences, and Business Administration at the Universidad Nacional Ucayali (UNU) as well as continuing to offer scholarships in Intercultural Education at UNIA.
We are offering a University education to Shipibo young people who want to serve their people by becoming professionals such as lawyers, teachers, and engineers. The obstacles preventing Shipibos from becoming professionals are formidable – primarily lack of financial resources, discrimination and managing the transition from living in rural communities to living in the city.
To this end, we have recently selected five young people from three different Shipibo communities who fulfill the following three important criteria:
1. They have the intelligence, ability and stamina to do a five-year Degree program.
2. They have leadership ability and vision.
3. They have the commitment to use the knowledge and skills they will acquire in service of their people.
Three of the students come from Paoyán, one of the largest rural Shipibo communities, downriver from Pucallpa midway to Contamana. They include:
- Fidel, a young man of 24 years who wants to study Environmental Science to help protect the forest, lakes and rivers he sees being destroyed around his community.
- Walter, a young man of 20 years who wants to study law to work in the field of human rights of his and other indigenous people.
- Llomar, a young man of 23 years, who wants to study Business Administration in order to be able to create and manage businesses that use his community’s resources in a sustainable way and where the economic benefits stay within the community and not go to outsiders.
We are very grateful to have found people who have pledged to support scholarships for these three young men for five years at $1000 USD per year in their Degree programs at UNU.
Additionally, we are offering a scholarship to Romulo, a young man from the Shipibo community of Nuevo Sucre – one of two Shipibo communities near Contamana who have suffered major health and environmental problems for having had petrol companies operating on their territory for forty years. Romulo is very bright and keen to study Civil Engineering in a private university in Contamana. If successful, in five years, he will be the first Shipibo to qualify as a Civil Engineer.
Our fifth candidate is an eighteen-year old young woman, Judith, who has recently graduated from the secondary school in the community of Puerto Firmeza. Alianza Arkana has been working with this school and community for three years helping to create a new model of intercultural education. Judith wants to study at UNIA to be an intercultural, bilingual kindergarten teacher.
Friday, 03 January 2014