As part of our giveback program, Pokoloko is proud to support The Community Ascent Network in their efforts to bring sustainable education to the remote village of Piñán, Ecuador - not far from our Ecuadorian artisans.
Piñán: A Post-Colonial Community
In the Northern remote village of Piñán sits a small indigenous community of 220. Made up of 40 Kichwa families, the village is located in the Andean mountains of Ecuador- where the ancestry of the land runs deep.
For over 400 years, indigenous families were forced to settle on the current village site to serve as indentured workers on plantations and ranches. Today, Piñán remains one of the last communities in Ecuador still affected by these colonial plantations.
But although they are now free of this injustice, no land title was ever granted to their peoples. As such, Piñán hasn’t received the social services offered to most communities in Ecuador.
Giveback to Move Forward: A Plan for Education
Far removed from most civilization, these indigenous families continue to suffer post-colonially in their isolation. But the biggest challenge they say they face: a lack of education!
“We[…] need help for our children- for them to learn, study in high school and university because due to the distance not one person from our community has ever graduated,” says an elder.
And as alternatively as they live, they know a lack of education and sustainable employment threatens the future of their children’s lives.
That’s where The Community Ascent Network (CAN) wants to help!
The Piñán High School Giveback Initiative
Development through Empowerment. Empowerment through Education.
The Current Situation: Why Giveback?
The past 2 years have been the first time that Piñán has been able to run a full year of classes, using a giveback system of local support. The members of CAN have been working with Piñán to help them develop a sustainable education program.
But while their history and isolation have left community members with an incomplete and unfunded education, there also remains few local jobs and employment opportunities for advancement.
The network believes the most effective aid they can provide is encouragement through self-development. However, while the community has clear goals for the future of their youth, they are unable to obtain the resources or finances required, on their own.
This project is scaled on the principles of sustainable development - create educational programs relevant to the community needs (like eco-tourism), and continue to support Piñán and its students to bring jobs and sustainable solutions to their village.
A Sustainable Education
Building a complete high school last year was a first for this community.
CAN works alongside contracted teachers through the local education district to ensure the curriculum aligns with required standards, and the architects at the University of Azuay created blueprints for the project. The first graduating class is already reaping the benefits of the early stages of this project.
The curriculum offers language training - enabling students to start working as guides in their region for eco-tourism. One of their teachers has been giving kiwcha language studies as this indigenous language has been lost due to their history.
The curriculum also ties in environmental education, honouring local traditions, supporting eco-tourism development and stewardship to the community and land. The intention is for students to finish with a General sciences degree.
The Giveback Initiative:
Use this education access as a way to support the economic development within the community, while ensuring local traditions are celebrated and honoured.
How Pokoloko is Committing to Giveback:
Pokoloko is proud to align ourselves with CAN’s belief:that every community has a need and each has something to offer.
Education for all youth is the first step of their community development goals, which aim to generate sustainability, dignified employment and empowerment for all its members.
This October, 5% of profits from our Ecuadorian collection sales will be in support of their Pre-Universitario course - designed to specifically prepare the students for their university program of choice.
All month long, any purchase from the entire Ecuadorian collection will divert this contribution on your behalf.
How our Giveback is Encouraging Piñán’s Youth Today:
Thanks to CAN’s giveback initiatives, this year Piñán’s first group of students have started classes, their first graduating class is in session, and all are well on their way to reaching their educational goals.
As Patricia Chavez- a young pupil hoping to reach graduation- described:
“[I want to say] thank you for visiting our community and presenting the opportunity to continue studying. [Now I can] choose a profession I can use to help my community. [With the help of the Piñán Giveback Initiative] I would like to study to become an architect.”
3 Ways You Can Giveback:
There are a few ways you can support this initiative.
The Community Ascent Network had set up a crowdfunding initiative to raise the $10,000 needed to build one final classroom for Piñán’s High School, and are also fundraising for the Pre-Universitario program. You can help this giveback program in 1 of 3 ways:
1. Visit their website to donate: www.communityascent.com
2. Follow & Share the Project on social media
3. Purchase anything from the Ecuadorian collection during the month of October, and 5% of the profits will be shared with the Community Ascent Network directly on your behalf.
Every donation - no matter how big or small - will help!
As a community, we raised $725 CAD during our December 2020 event. We’re looking forward to sharing the stories directly from the community with you as this project continues to unfold!
Because when we give back, we all move forward.