Fix a Roof and Save a Culture

Wiwa Children's photography to remodel a school, protect a dying culture, and guarantee an education
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Eduardo Gil Gil
Email Verified
612 Facebook Friends
Education
Santa Marta
Colombia
1 Team Member

Support Children's Photography, Fix a Roof, and Save a Culture

Lea sobre el proyecto en Español aqui.

Most of us don't know what it is like to not be able to go to school when it rains. For Colombian Wiwa indigenous children, a little rain means no class and when there isn't any class, they can't practice their dying language or learn more about their withering culture. There are only 13,000 Wiwa left in Colombia and only 60% of them speak their indigenous language Damana because of a lack of indigenous schools to teach the language. The small school in the Wiwa indigenous community called Wimake needs a new roof and two United States Peace Corps volunteers teamed up with the Colombian nonprofit organization Ribunduna Tayrona to give these children the opportunity to photograph their community and culture from their own unique perspective to use their photographic art to revamp their community school, guaranteeing not only an educational future, but a space to transmit and protect their culture.       

  

With your donation to Ribunduna Tayrona, you can help save a dying indigenous culture through supporting its children and their unique photography. You will empower Wiwa children to protect their own culture and community through remodeling the space where they practice their language and learn about their community. Your donation will not only support their photography and value their perspective but will revamp their only community school that desperately needs a new roof, new paint and a new kitchen.  We want to get the school ready for the next academic year. The entire community will be available to help re-vamp the school during the first two weeks of September. We need our funding by September to get the school built by January!

The Project

This project was created to empower indigenous children to play a key part in protecting their community and their educational future.  The project was carried out by the foundation Ribunduna Tayrona, a registered nonprofit in Colombia. Ribunduna Tayrona develops social projects in the various indigenous communities in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  When one of Ribunduna's volunteers, Eliecer,  told Taylor, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, about the roof and the school in Wimake, where he himself went to school, Taylor called fellow Peace Corps volunteer, Alli, who has a donation of digital cameras from the U.S. nonprofit, Outside the Lens.

It just so happens that Eliecer has a passion for photography as well. Together Alli, Eliecer and Taylor took a trying two hour ride up a bumpy mountain road and then hiked for 5 hours to get to Wimake. They taught 18 kids the basics of photography with full community support. The kids were given 11 cameras and a day in their community to take photos to showcase the parts of their lives they thought were important for you to see. They knew the proceeds from their photos would go to re-model their school and protect their community.  SEE THEIR AMAZING PHOTOS HERE.


What We Need & What You Get

Ribunduna Tayrona is a legally registered nonprofit in Colombia and run by volunteers.  Every cent you donate (minus the Indiegogo fees and photo product costs) will go directly to the project of re-vamping the school and showcasing the students' photographs.  This project has full community support in Wimake. The Wiwa community is led very democratically and Eliecer spent 8 hours in the men's meeting house building a complete support base. After the materials are purchased, the community will work together to complete the difficult transportation process as most of it will be done on foot and with mules due to a lack of roads after a certain point. 

With your donation to the foundation, you can receive a variety of products featuring the children's photography. YOU CAN VIEW ALL OF THEIR PHOTOS HERE and identify which ones you would like when you make a donation.

*note: Your donation goes to Ribunduna Tayrona. Peace Corps volunteers are limited in their ability to directly fund-raise for projects; they are encouraged to help facilitate the community-based projects of established organizations like Ribunduna Tayrona.

We Can Transform Wimake!

If We Raise More Than $18,000...

The school has many needs! If the foundation is fortunate enough to raise more than $18,000, it will purchase:

  • A bridge-when it rains a lot, there are several children who cannot cross the river to get to school because of the dangerous current
  • new whiteboard
  • new desks (the ones the kids have are over 30 years old)
  • solar-powered calculators
  • basic school supplies like notebooks, paper, pens and pencils
  • water filters (parasites are common because of water pollution)
  • transportation for older children who want to continue on to middle school and high school.
  • solar-powered flashlights for the nighttime
  •  a septic system to filter waste that goes into the river, the only water supply

More About the Wiwa people and Wimake

The Wiwa culture is a culture at risk. There are only 13,000 Wiwa left in the world, the majority of them are under 30 years old and only 60% of them are able to speak Damana fluently (http://revistawiwa.blogspot.com/).  Less than 20 Wiwa people speak Spanish fluently enough to be able to defend their communities when needed, against land encroachment and other dangers. Schools like the one in Wimake are unbelievably important to protect the future of the Wiwa people because these schools are where Wiwa children learn their culture and to speak both Damana and Spanish. Wimake is a pueblo on a legally-recognized indigenous reservation founded in the 1980s by Wiwa leaders to be a place where displaced Wiwa could go to re-establish their culture and re-construct their community. Before Wimake was founded, the area was a drug-growing region, even though the land was always legally owned by the indigenous community. Today Wimake is a self-sustaining community of 32 families. Each family has a small family farm outside of the community where they grow crops to feed themselves, including their main food staples such as yucca, plantains, bananas, beans and other fruits and vegetables.

The School: IED Zalemaku Sertuga Sede 3

     

The Wiwa population is overwhelmingly young and they really need to focus on preserving their language and culture before the rest of the elders pass away. They accomplish this in "etno-educativa" schools like the one in Wimake, where the Colombian Ministry of Education allows students to follow a special curriculum that emphasizes their indigenous language and culture. The curriculum is created with Wiwa community leaders together with the Ministry of Education. While the idea is an excellent one, many of the "etno-educativa" schools lack the facilities to put the curriculum into practice and there simply aren't enough schools to reach the entire population, especially those in remote areas. Thus, it is important that schools like the one in Wimake are supported and maintained. The school in Wimake is only a primary school. Students who want to continue on to middle school or high school must leave Wimake to study elsewhere. If we raise more than $18,000, we are hoping to be able to send some of the older children to other schools to continue their education. 

When You Donate...

Please identify the photos you would like by choosing from this link. SEE THE AMAZING PHOTOS HERE. Right now, we can only mail orders in the continental United States. Please contact us if you want to purchase photos and mail them outside the United States. 

Other Ways You Can Help 

If you can't contribute financially, we need publicity!

Help us get the word out and make some noise about our project. Share our project on Facebook, Twitter, at church, in your community groups and anywhere else!

More Information about the Wiwa, Wiwa Tour, and Ribunduna Tayrona

Video about Wiwa Tour on the Guardian (English)

Revista Wiwa (Español) (Español)

Wiwa Governing Authority (Español)

Wiwa Tour (English and Español)

Ribunduna Tayrona Foundation (English and Español)

The Heart of the World: Documentary about indigenous people in the Sierra Nevada (English)

Documentary about the Wiwa and Ribunduna Tayrona (Español)

National Geographic Story on the Sierra Nevada Indigenous people (English)

Taylor's Blog about Colombia (English)


Find This Campaign On
$3,055USD
raised in 2 months
17% funded
No time left
$18,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on August 24, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Damana: Save a dying language!

    For your donation of $10, you will receive a video of all the children's photos with a thank you message spoken in the Wiwa language Damana with subtitles in English. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    5 claimed
  • $25USD
    Zhatuhkua

    For your donation of $25, you will receive a video of all the children's photos with a thank you message spoken in the Wiwa language Damana with subtitles in English. You will also receive a 4x6 photo of your choice. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    4 claimed
  • $30USD
    Kuina

    For your donation of $30, you will receive two 4x6 photos of your choice. Please identify the number of the photos you want by visiting the photo website. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    3 claimed
  • $35USD
    Kuntshawa

    For your donation of $35, you will receive one 5X7 photo of your choice. Please identify the number of the photo you want by visiting the photo website. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    2 claimed
  • $50USD
    SIma

    For your donation of $50, you will receive two 5x7 photos of your choice. Please identify the number of the photos you want by visiting the photo website. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    2 claimed
  • $75USD
    Guama

    For your donation of $75, you will receive two 8x10 photos of your choice. Please identify the numbers of the photos you want by visiting the photo website. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    0 claimed
  • $100USD
    Kunshama

    For this donation of $100, you will receive a photo magnet of your choice. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    4 claimed
  • $200USD
    Inkiashe

    For your donation of $200, you will receive a small photo book with 25 photos of your choice or you can let us choose our favorites. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    0 claimed
  • $250USD
    Inkijkuama

    For your donation of $250, you will receive a 11x14 photo of your choice and a photo magnet of your choice. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    0 claimed
  • $500USD
    Unkuzhikawama

    For your donation of $500, you will receive a custom framed 5x7 photo of your choice. The photo is double matted with a black or brown frame. You can choose white over black matting or double black matting. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    0 claimed
  • $500USD
    Zhiguanama

    For this donation of $500, you will receive a beautiful photobook with a forest green linen cover with all of the children's photos, many with short descriptions. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    1 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Unkuzhisamezhi

    For your donation of $1,000, you will receive a custom framed 8x10 photo of your choice. You will receive a beautiful photobook with a forest green linen cover with all of the children's photos, many with short descriptions. You will also receive the video mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Nunkuama

    We will contact you to build a personalized photo package featuring many of the gifts mentioned above. We will also post a thank you photo on your facebook page.

    0 claimed
  • $12,000USD
    Zhiguashaiama

    For your donation of $12,000, Wiwa Tour will fly you to Colombia for a 7 day stay in Santa Marta. You will go on a 5 day all inclusive trek to the Lost City/Ciudad Perdida (sacred indigenous site) with a Wiwa guide and English translator and stay 2 days in a hotel in Santa Marta. Must be used one year from purchase. If used before January 2014, Taylor will personally translate for you on the trip and show you all her favorite places in Santa Marta.

    0 claimed
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