OUR PROJECT IN PIÑÁN
Our organization's current focus is working with the rural community of Piñán in the North of Ecuador.
Our project mission is for Piñán to have complete access to the public education system as well all the necessary educational infrastructure in their own community. This includes teachers, supplies and classrooms.
To help Pinan build their first highschool by providing the funding, coordination and materials for the construction.
To work with the local school board to bring teachers to the community so that we can offer a full highschool curriculum.
To develop specific career based programs that will help the community in creating local jobs and building a sustainable future. Specifically we will be creating an Eco-Tourism and Guiding program, as well as a sustainable agriculture program.
To offer a volunteer based English teaching program which will be included in their high-school curriculum. English will be an essential skill for Pinan’s vision of creating sustainable tourism in their community.
WHAT WE'VE ACHIEVED
We're well into our second year working on this project with Piñán and we're starting to see some major progress. These are some of our biggest achievements so far:
A full time teacher was contracted and as of September 2019 the first ever year of secondary classes in Piñán began.
The current community classroom was equipped with computers and a projector which we sent down in support of the new curriculum.
An agreement of collaboration on the project between the local school board, our organization and the community of Piñán.
Architectural designs for a unique and sustainable school are in the works thanks to collaboration with the University of Azuay in Cuenca, Ecuador.
We've raised just over $20,000CAD to build Piñán's new highschool!
THE COMMUNITY OF PIÑÁN
Piñán is a small village located high up in the northern Andes of Ecuador. The community is made up of about 220 people or 40 families who are descendants of the Kichwa Indigenous peoples of the area.
The community has a unique culture as highland ranchers, masterful in horsemanship and living in close relationship with the paramo grasslands and surrounding environment.
During the early colonial era, the ancestors of these families were forced to settle on the current site where the village lies to serve as peasant workers to the colonial ranch, hacienda Piñán. The community finally associated independently in recent decades, however the land on which they live is still owned by the hacienda. Piñán is one of the last communities in Ecuador still affected this way by the colonial haciendas.
The villagers are not able to develop agriculture or graze animals on the land around their village, and as such livelihoods are scarce and poverty is starkly present. Consequently no one in the community has ever been able to study or graduate from basic schooling in this community.
The remoteness and lack of any opportunities in their village means that most people have to leave to find jobs for months at a time or sometimes permanently. This is what the approximately 200 youth living there are facing in their future right now.
But we now have an opportunity to change this...
SO WHAT DIFFERENCE CAN WE MAKE?
Access to high school for all youth and supporting the students through career development programs and university studies is our first step to empowering these youth. Their vision is that they will be able to work toward developing sustainable industry and jobs in their own village.
The community's vision is to work with their surrounding environment to create a sustainable, community-run tourism business that can create jobs to benefit the whole village. Additionally they hope to learn to develop small agricultural ventures that will bring more jobs and as well as serving as their own sustainable source of food.
Education is the first step toward reaching all of these goals - gender inclusion- and we are very excited to work alongside Piñán while they make the changes their community needs.