Solar-powered laptops fundraiser for indigenous communities in the Amazon
- Credit: FENAMAD
A Hampstead charity is helping to supply solar-powered laptops for indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest.
The Tambopata Reserve Society (TReeS) has set up a fundraiser to provide laptops, printers and other communications equipment for natives inside the Manu National Park, Madre de Dios, in southeast Peru.
This equipment, designed to improve networks of support, would be given to the four Matsigenka indigenous communities – Tayakome, Yomibato, Sarigemini and Shirerishi.
These communities can only be accessed by river, taking two to five days from the nearest road.
The national park includes lowland rainforests, cloud forests and Andean grasslands.
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It is home to around 200 species of mammals, 50 reptiles, 140 amphibians, and 200 types of fish. Outsiders can only access the area with permission from the National Park authority.
John Forrest, from TReeS, said: "Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon are extremely vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic, and a range of other threats.
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“The equipment provided through this appeal will enable four remote Matsigenka communities to establish functioning real-time contact with their representative organisations, authorities and community members living elsewhere.
“TReeS has a long-established relationship with the indigenous communities of Madre de Dios including supporting traditional approaches to health care, retaining ancestral knowledge and facilitating higher education students to pursue their studies."
In 2020 satellite-based, solar-powered internet communication systems were installed in the four Matsigenka communities, part-financed by TReeS.
This has enabled each of the groups to communicate directly with the organisations they need to.
The Hampstead fundraiser for indigenous communities in South America is being supported by Softwire, a technology firm based in Highgate Road.
Software developer Sarah Binney said: “We’re always looking for ways to support the local and international community in access to technology and protecting the environment, so we’re really happy to be able to support TReeS’s work in Peru.”
TReeS, which is actively seeking sponsors, is hoping to raise £4,400.
Including installation and delivery from Cusco, this would provide four HP laptops, four Epson printers, four solar panels with batteries, and other materials including USBs and printer ink.
The monies will be distributed in Peru via the Federation of Native Peoples of Madre de Dios (FENAMAD) and the Council of the Harakbut, Yine and Matsigenka People (COHARYIMA).
Cheques made out to TReeS can be sent to TReeS, P.O.Box 33153, London, NW3 4DR.