Greetings to all of our friends and supporters of AoA . I am pleased to report on the progress of our programs in the Amazon-Tahuayo River.
As I write this newsletter, I close my eyes and remember with an smile of gratitude the humble beginnings of our educational program. We started our scholarship initiative with a handful of girls, thirsty for knowledge, wanting careers, aspiring to continue their education beyond the elementary grades. We knew that many social as well as economic issues in the world can be solved with the education of women.
Before we started our initiative most of the Tahuayo girls that went to elementary school were done with their education by age 13-14, then got married to have children. There were no other choices in their village. If they wanted to continue with their education the only place to go for high school was in the city or to another village, far away from home. The parents of this poor region could not afford that expense.
With the support of their sponsors and the courage to leave their village, we found a place for them in high schools in Iquitos city. Today these young women have jobs in Iquitos or Lima,are financially independent and are able to support their families. Through education they were able to break free from the vicious
cycle of agrarian poverty. From these brave pioneers we built the program to the point where some 40 plus children, boys as well as girls, are now in our scholarship program. As much of a success as this program has been to the students fortunate enough to be placed in it, it still fails to address the aspirations of hundreds of children on the Tahuayo River.
Seeing the power of education to transform lives, most of the young children of the Tahuayo River now hunger to continue their education. They dream of all the options in life that education can open to them. But there are simply too many children wanting an education, for us to manage in our current program. The only way that a high school education can be brought to all of the Tahuayo children who desire it, is to build a high school in the largest village of the upper Tahuayo River, Chino Village. To this end Angels of the Amazon has secured a grant from the organization Be The Change Volunteers to begin construction of a high school in Chino Village.
Construction will begin on the first classroom in August. Each year for the next few years we will add another classroom. The classrooms will be built on raised concrete columns, high enough above ground level so that if another massive flood ever hits the region again, the community could use it as an emergency shelter. We have the approval and cooperation of the government to provide teachers and accreditation as well as the cooperation of the community leaders.
In other education news, our membership (you!) provided sufficient funds to provide books and educational packets for all of the children in the elementary schools. The school year started in March and all of the young children were so happy to receive their school supplies for the new school year. Once the high school is builtwe’ll be counting on you to provide annual funding for books and supplies to the new high school students aswell as those in the elementary grades.
Our major health care initiative is the support of the clinic in Esperanza Village. During this past year you helped us purchase new hospital beds, furniture, IV stands, equipment and supplies for treatment as well as expensive diagnostic equipment to create a diagnostic laboratory. Now we have a full time clinician involved in laboratory work. Unlike before, where tests were sent to the city and patients had to wait as much as a month for results, it now often takes only a few minutes, and treatment can then begin immediately. We still rely on you
for funding, $3000+ a month, to pay for 2 permanent clinical staff and another one part time, as well as supplies and occasional treatments in Iquitos which are beyond the capacity of the clinic. Please help us to continue this support.
We are also increasing attention to the region’s special needs children, suffering from birth defects, polio, meningitis or from other debilitating diseases. Nurses funded by you have been visiting them in their homes to check on their well-being. These home visits are important because it is usually hard to transport these childrento the clinic by canoe or on foot, If you are interested in providing vitamin-milk, diapers and hygienic products for one month for our special needs children, the cost is $50 per child per month. Education and access to health care are human rights. Your support has helped to bring about an incredible
transformation in the quality of life for so many people. With your continued support we will keep making a difference for the better.
One heart and two worlds!
Dolly Arevalo Beaver
Angels of the Amazon