Meri Ushinahua Alvarez has worked as a volunteer for the Canatura organisation in Iquitos for the past two years. She used to work for the government with children in a similar project, but prefers working at Canatura because of the strategy that they have and because they are not “fake” like the government.
Meri, who is a biologist, says that she is amazed by, and respects the methods that Canatura are using including the impact that they give to Peruvian education, and the way they open the childrens’ minds. They have fresh and creative ways to teach, and show that volunteers can inspire and help kids often better than paid teachers who may have lost their love of teaching.
One year ago Canatura received funding of about $15,000 from NCI for organising tours for young people. Invitations were sent out to many schools, but only 3-4,000 people responded and came on the organised tours. The remaining funds from this are now being injected into other areas including the recycling festival that happens every year in Iquitos, and will be held on the 1st of September this year.
While I was talking with Meri, a man came into the room who had received an invitation to the organised tour one year ago. He never went on the tour, but is now interested in having about 400 kids go on a tour very soon. One fantastic thing I realised about Canatura was that their tours can be adjusted to suit many different types of groups. Each person going on the tours contributes 1 sole to cover guides training costs and to show the value of co-operation.
Canatura in Iquitos is in desperate need of a co-ordinator, administrator, a financial accountant, and definitely an office. Volunteers are imperative for the Iquitos sector of the organisation so that it can continue to do great things for the environment and education.
If you would like to volunteer at Canatura Iquitos or donate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.