Before ever having participated in a training, Recner Curitima and Kelly Maniwari Tapujima, a married couple living in the community of Puerto Prado, had heard of Minga Peru. The name had been mentioned by people in other communities and they were listeners of Minga’s radio program Bienvenida Salud which reaches over 120,000 listeners in hundreds of communities across the remote landscape of the Peruvian Amazon. Both Kelly and Recner remember the time before the community began to work with Minga.
“It was very different, people didn’t speak much to one another and families communicated very little. We believed that everything should be private and didn’t see the value in opening up and sharing so others could learn from our experiences.”
Kelly was born and raised in the community of Puerto Prado while Recner arrived as an adolescent after freeing himself from the convent where his parents had sent him to school. “When I was young I was sent to a convent to finish up my studies. But while I was there, I wasn’t allowed to leave or to see my parents, it was an uncomfortable environment and I was never able to truly learn” he explains. “I eventually left on my own and found my aunt who was able to take me to Nauta where my grandparents lived.”
After he settled into living with his family and some time had passed, Recner went on to study in an electrical training program. And while both Recner and Kelly ended up in Puerto Prado and brought together by different ways, they equally take pride in their community. So when they were offered the opportunity to work with Minga, they were both eager to learn more.
It was amazing for Kelly and Recner to learn about a variety of topics through the different Minga workshops provided to them –from environmental conservation and income generation to breast and uterine cancer detection and prevention, as well as issues regarding domestic violence, finding the information valuable and practical for their everyday lives.
“We attend all kinds of trainings now—we listen and we share the information with each other and with our children.
We feel there is more understanding between our family and others in the community who take part in these activities as well.”
The training Minga provides to communities like Puerto Prado and to the local people like Kelly and Recner is invaluable. Because communities like these are remote and services are scarce, arming community members with this kind of information is an effective and sustainable way to foster community driven development. “Our rights and our communities are vulnerable and everything we have here is because of our own will and through community cooperation,” Recner explains. “We’re thankful for programs like Minga, whose goal is to train and inform based on what we want for our own lives.”
Looking forward, Kelly and Recner talk about their dreams for their own future and that of their community. As personal goals, both wish to continue gaining knowledge. And for Puerto Prado, they wish to continue to share their learnings with their neighbors and to grow more united as a community.
“What we learn in the training isn’t just information for us—it’s for the entire community. Now, more than ever, we’re more united and we’re able to speak and resolve our challenges as a community. That’s what’s most important.”
You can make possible that more communities living on this side of the world are trained and empowered, by making a meaningful donation to Minga today.
** U.S. donations are tax-deductible and can be made through Minga’s fiscal sponsor, The Resource Foundation.
We would like to thank our partners HelpPeru, The Ashmore Foundation, Lindblad Expeditions – National Geographic, The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Artisan Fund, and Friends of Minga Peru for their continuous support.