January 2009 Update on Charitable Program.
Angels of the Amazon (AOA) is a non-profit, tax-deductible (USA) organization that assists in the economic, medical and educational needs of the indigenous people of the Tahuayo River. Assistance is provided in ways that are consistent with the self reliant values of the native culture. AOA was incorporated in late 2007, growing out of the charitable efforts of Dolly Beaver and about a dozen friends. By the end of 2008 Angels had over 130 donors.
The funds raised in 2008 were put to many needs. The scholarship program grew to include 35 students. Students range from kindergarden school students provided with medical check-up, uniforms and educational supplies to funding Tahuayo students secondary and higher educational opportunities in the city of Iquitos. Some of the students who deserve a special mention for their efforts in 2008 include: Narda Tanger, who graduated from high school with outstanding grades and is preparing to take the exam to enter the National University of Iquitos;
Alejandro Flores gained admission to the prestigious Academy of SENATI in Iquitos with a score of 97%— 3rd place from over 800 students competing for 50 openings; Hellen Candamo won the region wide mathematics contest for 8th grade and represented the State of Loreto in national competition; Jefferson Candamo graduated elementary school with highest honors and has moved on to secondary school in Iquitos. We salute these great accomplishments of children who come from remote jungle villages and thank their sponsors as well as those of the other 31 children for making this possible.
Donations to our general fund were also used to prepare educational packages for all of the 350 children of the 4 villages on the upper Tahuayo. They also received a demonstration of dental care techniques along with toothbrushes and toothpaste.
School supplies were also provided for the Escuela Especial de Iquitos (Special school of Iquitos-for handicapped children). The art class room was renovated with new material, toys and special tools so the children who are nonambulatory are able to participate in the art classes. Other materials requested by the teachers of the special school were donated to improve the quality of educational instruction.
AOA assisted in the opening of a high school in Chino village. The enrollment for the first year consisted of 20 teens and adults. Most of the adults eventually dropped out and the year finished with 10 students. AOA helped to lobby the government for accreditation and to provide 2 teachers as well as donating educational supplies and construction.
AOA sponsored an art contest for the children in Chino. Several talented children won prizes in a celebration hosted at the tourist lodge which was judged by some professional artists who were our guests.
In September 2008 AOA promoted and helped to fund a Health Fair in the Community of Chino organized by the members of the Amazon Rainforest Conservation Society. The 4 communities invited to the fair were Diamante, San Pedro, Chino and Buena Vista. The natives had general health screening provided as well by a gynecological specialist for the women.
AOA collected and donated linens, pillows, towels, scrubs and adult diapers for patients at the AIDS House of Iquitos, as well as various types of medication. This is the hospice for terminal patients with AIDS, so every year it is important to donate new items. The patients here are provided with bed, food and medicine.
Our biggest health related project was the construction and expansion of the Esperanza rural clinic this year. The clinic was renovated from a one room, dirt floor to 3 large rooms, including examination room, overnight patient room, child delivery room (can handle 2 mothers at once), as well as space for storage and office, concrete floor, tin roof, 2 full bathrooms, septic system, elevated water tank, renovated wooden walls, screens, beds, tables, chairs and miscellaneous supplies were also provided by AOA. The professional health care staff was increased from one worker to three. (Photo: Dolly Beaver opening the new clinic).
Special thanks to many Amazonia travelers who brought over the counter medication and donated to the clinic. AOA also supplied medication and testing kits.
We had several emergency healthcare patients in 2008. Surgeries for large and small tumors, hernia repair, cyst removal, bleeding, and emergency care for delivery complications, fever, skin infections, eye treatment, physical trauma and disease depleted our emergency care fund.
A new conservation program was started by the tourist lodge in 2008 and AOA contributed by paying hunters to become conservation assistants. Agreed to by the committee of community leaders, hunting in the upper Tahuayo will cease, in return for economic support distribued equally among the 4 upper communities, hiring people on a rotating basis, 4 at a time, to be trained in conservation work.
The women’s artisanal cooperative, organized by AOA, expanded its market by selling to a government agency, PROCREL as well as to tourists visiting the area. The sales to PROCREL were noted in an article in the New York Times (January 20, 2009), although the article failed to give AOA its due credit. The income from the cooperative has had a notable impact on raising the standard of living in the villages.
During the year AOA donors hosted at least two nutritional breakfast days per month in the village schools. Our year end Christmas Celebration fed a record 600+ native people. Every child up to age 12 received a gift.
All contributions to Angels of the Amazon go directly to address the economic, medical and educational needs of the indigenous people of the Tahuayo, except for a small amount going to the special needs school and AIDS House in Iquitos. 100% is spent directly for charitable relief. Support for staff, infrastructure, overhead and office operating expenses of AOA is completely provided by Amazonia Expeditions.
AOA thanks all of our donors, without whom none of the above would have been possible. To continue the work of Angels of the Amazon we need your continuing commitment with a contribution for 2009.
“One Child at a time” Dolly Beaver, President and founder of Angels of the Amazon