Salud, Cultura y Naturaleza
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Victoria is a biologist by training, with experience in etnobiology and more specifically etnobotany. She is a specialist and teacherin rural development. With values and ethical principles applied toward revitalizing traditional wisdom, knowledge and practices in the communities, which she has been involved with. Victoria is convinced by the importance of the holistic knowledge and cultural values of indigenous people, as a guiding principle for the conservation of nature. She is very thankful to the Nasa community from the Andes Mountains in Southwest Colombia, with whom she has learned about fight and gain political strength for the permanence of indigenous community.
Indigenous people in Urban areas
I am Pakcha Samay Villegas Miranda. I was born in Mushulllakta on July 30, 1982. Fourth daughter of twelve sibblings, at the age of 14 I had to leave my home. I went to the city of Puyo to be able to continue my studies at school, which quickly came to end as unfortunately I was not prepared to undertake this path. I needed my family nearby, especially my mother- even though she would punish us very hard. I come from Kichwa and Shuar roots. I understand the Kichwa language, thanks to my grandmother Carmen Vargas. I am here to be a voice and example for all my brothers and sisters, who know and understand that we have a great cultural wealth. That we should feel proud of our roots, we should not let our own culture be forgotten, and no matter what people say, we should look for own way of life. If we start by giving the example, on the way others will join the fight. My life gave a very positive turn after getting to know and understanding better our wise mother nature. Here I am now carrying with me her knowledge for others. I am the mother of three beautiful girls. I work as an artisan with traditional seeds. That’s what I love doing!
Born in the Kichwa community of Canelos in the province of Pastaza, Luis is part of the generations of young indigenous people that is committed to look for achieving better health and wellbeing alternatives in the communities of the Amazon. Luis is an civil engineer but has always been involved in promoting social, cultural and environmental matters. He has taken part in various national and international UN events on climate change and rights of indigenous peoples. He believes that we have to reconsider the way we ……..Different social changes are having a considerable impact on the indigenous culture, in the modern context. Luis believes that health, culture and nature should be seen as one, and technology should be a better fit in the day-to-day of indigenous people. Based on this perspective, it is important that we take advantage of what technology offers, in order to protect our intangible heritage and promote amongst the younger generations, the principles and values of our indigenous cultures, from which we have become so disconnected.
Economic Entrepreneurship Programs
“Since a young age I was brought up with values and principles of indigenous cosmovision. I grew up in a family of great sages (Banku-Yachak) from Napo, and founders of the district of Arajuno, in the province of Pastaza. My grand parents were known to possess great powers to cure diseases with the sacred vine, Ayahusca.” Diana considers herself a kichwa woman, who is committed to strengthen the culture of indigenous people, through intercultural community endeavors, which in turn will generate an income for families in their communities. That way we can avoid the migration of indigenous people from their communities into cities in search for work. Migration to urban areas has become one of the leading factors, contributing to biocultural erosion. Currently, thanks to her career in finance, Diana has undertaken a joint textile venture in Arajuno called “ASOTEXKICH”, which helps to generate job opportunities for 20 kichwa women in vulnerable situations.
With a great passion for health, after obtaining her masters in Public health, in 2015 Eleonore comes to Ecuador, where she works for an international NGO to improve access to primary healthcare in remote Kichwa communities of the Amazon. This is when she realizes the importance to rescue and promote what is left of traditional knowledge and local practices in the communities, instead of trying to impose occidental medicine and beliefs onto these communities. Inspired by the mission and work of Sacha Warmi, in 2017 Eleonore decides to join forces with them, to improve the health and strengthen the health systems of indigenous populations. Eleonore is very motivated to support Sacha Warmi initiatives with the traditional midwives, to make sure that their valuable ancestral practices, and precious knowledge on medicinal plants are not being forgotten, amidst so much change and uncertainty.
Women, families and territories program
Born along the bank of the river Bobonaza, Rosa belongs to the Kichwa nationality from Canelos, in Pastaza. At a very young age she left her community and lived for 8 years in various places across Ecuador. Her experience outside of her community gave her a new outlook on her own culture and made her realize the importance of the traditional ways of life in her own community. Worried about the future of her community, Rosa came back to motivate the women in her community to come together and reflect about their current situation, in order to come up with small-scale cultural and productive projects, which can help improve their current life situation, as well as their family’s.
Thomas’first contact with Sacha Warmi was in 2016, when he did his field work for his master’s degree in anthropology, with the University of Lyon Lumière (France). He conducted interviews with the female midwives of Arajuno and the women ceramist of Canelos, to better understand their traditional knowledge and practices. “Accompanying the midwives in their daily activities, I learned many things that I was not taught in college. But the most interesting and important thing for me was to feel that my work could contribute to the development of the programs that the Sacha Warmi Foundation has, to strengthen these groups and help them gain more technical capacity and autonomy. This is how I got to better understand, the contributions that can be made by scientific research to the benefit of local initiatives-what the social sciences call action-participatory research. Now, from France, I continue to support the Sacha Warmi Foundation with its communication program until I can return to Ecuador to work with Sacha Warmi and the indigenous communities of the Amazon.
Executive Director, intercultural health programs
With 35 years of experience working on indigenous health, Didier has dedicated a of significant part of his life supporting the revitalization of indigenous cultural and health systems, accompanying various communities and organizations of the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon in the development and implementation of diverse life projects. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done. Didier is still convinced about the huge value, which encompassesindigenous health systems and traditional medicines in the Amazon. Not merely to help indigenous peoples in attaining a better health and a decent life, but also because this anceatral knowledge and medicine constitute an important legacy for all of humanity.