The BoNi or Children’s Forest project is an initiative about environmental sensitization mainly addressed to the boys and girls of a community peasant very special in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, called San Rafael.
Rural communities are characterized by their daily field work, which means a permanent coexistence with the nature that surrounds them. In spite of their enormous will, the development of Iquitos (the nearest city) often generates a commercial pressure that forces them to expand their crops and increase their agricultural productions, being more aggressive than what the inhabitants would wish.
That's why we believe it is essential that the yongest ones, who are the new generations that will use the land, have to know how to take advantage of the natural resources in a sustainable way and how to minimize the impact of the city influence, supporting the conservation.
The idea and motivation to emphasize these values appears by the community people itself, which encourages us to collaborate with their cause, by means of helping them to create their own “Children’s Forest”.
The TiNi (Land of Children) is part of a learning philosophy created by ANIA (Asociación para la Niñez y su Ambiente) and was the one chosen to be developed in San Rafael’s community. This methodology is already successfully working in different regions of Peru, and the results are outstanding. It is also officially recognized by the UNESCO like one of the best practices for the sustainable development at a world-wide level!
To carry out a TiNi inside the community, it is necessary to prepare a natural space, divided in parts with specific purposes: to promote inspiration, orientation or recognition. Each one of the different spots inside this space has a special role, as: to ensure that the children play and amuse, because children have to be children!, also to improve the creativity and individual capacity of each one of these little boys through the artistic expression of emotions and their own ideas.
And of course we don’t forget the natural knowledge! This is crucial to transmit it through the observation and experimentation of the natural processes directly feeling it, and with their own hands because it will be the same children, those that get to understand the concepts through their own experiences and actions in touch with nature. They will observe, know, decide and act in that space that they are taking care of. This is what nowadays is called Emotional Education, education through the emotions.
Will be the adults, Esteban, Neus and Davi (members of EverGreen Institute), together with the volunteers and the community families of San Rafael who will present this piece of forest to the children in a very special ceremony in which they will be empowered and recognized like Change Agents. While doing the Children's Forest, we create a very strong bond (even magic!) between them and nature. We don’t want them to stop using their resources, but we want them to understand that it must be done in a responsible way.
The strengthening of the knowledge that supposes this project will benefit more than 170 children that study at San Rafael’s school, also their families and close people and also nature, of course.
The influenced area of these pro-conservation values will be sperad through most of the region, as many of the students from San Rafael come from neighboring communities, endowing the project with a much greater impact.
At this point we are sure you would be full of curiosity to know which kind of activities and workshops we will do. Let us explain you some of the most representative ones, as for example: cultivate plants, even for a direct use of the community (like alimentary and medicinal plants), or to reforest the most degraded spaces; recycle to reduce solid waste to create toys and useful tools; revalue the ancestral knowledge of nature in the community; promote the self-esteem of the children; also renew the auto-management and the knowledge of their rights; recognise the contributions that the little ones do at home or at the community itseld; and much more!. Of course, all this will always be done from the respect to the tradition and the native local culture.
We also count with the help of 3 volunteers that form an audiovisual team to record a documentary where we will register the essence of the project and that will allow us to capture the work done and its evolution.
Besides, it will be beautiful to register the real context of San Rafael’s Community and their special lifestyle, as well as the work in collaboration with the volunteers, local organizations and the community people, for a common goal.
But it does not finish here! The BoNi is only the first step of a long process that we will follow very closely. Now we facilitate them the tools to support them, but they need to know how to carry on with it, on a self-sufficient way and with independency form us ( we don’t want to create bonds of dependency!! ), but we do not leave them to their own luck: we are going to analyze how they manage the project, and we will evaluate the results at a short, medium and long term. Furthermore, there will be professionals (locals and from EverGreen Institute) that will make a follow-up, offering their support to strengthen the process along the year and so, guarantee their success.
The final aim of this project is to attain that BoNis, in this case, can get multiplied in Latin America and other regions in the Amazon and inspire the creation of a new index of sustainable development that value and recognize the contribution of the children to the welfare of the society. This index is already being generated in Peru and it is called Population Environmentally Active (PAA), and will complement, because it is not at all considered less important, the Economically Active Population (PEA).
How will we invest your contributions?
The 6.000€ that we are asking will cover the costs of the implementation and construction of this educational space in San Rafael, in a place chosen by the families of the community.
With this quantity, apart from buying the material to enable the BoNi construction we could also cover part of the costs of the human team that is behind it. Moreover we will ensure the mingas (community meals) after the days of teamwork all together, we will guarantee the transport of all the material by river and the production and edition of the documentary that will allow us to share the experience with you all, once we are back in Spain.
If we overpass this initial budget of 6.000€ we will be able to minimize some of the students and volunteers costs that have offered their time and dedication to make this dream come real. Besides, we will help the audiovisual team with the edition and setting the video and some extra material to guarantee that their equipment resists the climatology of the tropic, because a well done documentary marks the difference! :)
We will also be able to ensure the promotion and distribution of this audiovisual material in Peru and Spain and maximize its visibility. We think that it is a project with a lot of potential and we are sure that it will be very enriching to divulgate it, sharing the final result with the society. This would allow us to look for opportunities to extrapolate the project in other potencial communities where there is this same wish to bet for the conservation of the Amazon, empowering ther children to be the Change Agents towards a sustainable future.
We have procured that each one who put his support and confidence in us, could keep a piece of this beautiful project and could leave his footprint in the community, although not being present.
The name of each patron will remain engraved in the entrance plate of the Children’s Forest in the Community of San Rafael, as a gratitude to his contribution. Afterwards, and depending on how much you can contribute, we have decided to send you an Amazon surprise shaped as a handicraft made by the community people. By doing this, we are supporting their local products and we encourage and value their art. It is allso an opportunity for them to directly thank you for your collaboration :)
Moreover, we are going to send the documentary recorded during the project so that you can have a memory of what we have been able to do thanks to your help. You would see on first-hand where the money that you have invested went. A key point to feel satisfied of the result achieved thanks to you!
Furthermore, we have a special T-shirt design of the Children’s Forest, a surprise for those that also want to help us to spread our association’s initiative. Another reward that fills us of pride and illusion, is to plant a tree with your name, to reforest degraded areas inside the same community, do you want to one? :)
For the traveler ones who do not only want to see it through a screen, we will offer a personalized tour in-situ, inside the Children’s Forest by the same locals, boys and girls of San Rafael, that will be very proud to show what they have done and learnt within this initiative!!
The implementation of the Children’s Forest will be made in 9 weeks approximately. The work will be made together with the community, boys and girls, professors and volunteers/collaborators (foreigners and local).
We expect that the rewards to all those who have supported us will be delivered as soon as posible when the team is back in Spain (end of September or beginning of October).
Our aim is to finish the edition of the documentary in November and do the delivery in digital version at the end of the year. At our return, once ready, we will be able to convert the documentary into an useful educational tool for schools, institutes, universities or any another institution who want to know by first-hand the project and listen to the final result by the promoter team EverGreen Institute :)
But to accomplish this calendar we need your contribution!
Thank you for collaborating with EverGreen Institute, the rural Amazon community of San Rafael and this project dream called Children’s Forest!