Maloca Communities – Amazon Basin, South America
Maloca is a grassroots support organization that works with indigenous peoples living in the Amazon basin. The term “Maloca,” refers to the ancestral long houses used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, and is symbolic of their approach to supporting culturally-based and community-identified strategies for defending culture and territory. Maloca works directly with indigenous leaders as well as with an array of volunteers and sponsors in the U.S. to raise awareness about the needs of community partners and find means to help them establish self-sustaining strategies to address these needs.
We partner with indigenous communities which we know personally and we support them in their endeavors to achieve their goals – whether it is improving education and community health, defending their territory, or preserving their culture.
We also believe that raising awareness about indigenous issues is an important part of the process of helping indigenous people achieve their goals of self-determination and compliance with their human rights. Thus, Maloca aims to spread awareness not only of the issues its partner communities are facing, but of the rich culture, tradition and way of life of these communities.
Awareness – raise awareness of the lifestyle, culture, tradition and issues of our partner communities, using social media and, when possible, local events.
Education – provide school supplies for all children, for classrooms and for teachers. We also work to send volunteers in different communities to teach English to community members, especially to young adults and community members that are involved in the community tourism activities.
Clean Energy and Technology – support communities to get access to clean energy (solar panels) and technology.
Emergency Health – although not sustainable for the long term, we responded on a few occasions to emergency medical situations by helping community members affected by life threatening conditions to get proper medical treatment.
Community Health – help the community build and maintain a health center with basic health supplies: medicine for fever and pain, diarrhea, and basic first aid kit for treating burns and wounds.
Language and culture preservation – working on a small collection of traditional stories in the native language, illustrated with drawings made by the community children. This will contribute to the preservation of culture and language, as well as sparking the young generation’s interest in their legends and myths.
Tourism for environmental and territory protection, culture preservation and sustainable growth – the communities we work with established a small nature-based tourism initiative through which they deliver a great experience for visitors and in the meantime protect their forest necessary to sustain their livelihoods. Tourism revenues resulting are a significant source of income and employment for community members. It is important that the communities themselves lead the tourism effort on their territory, ensuring they manage and protect their natural resources and territory through this effort, and enjoy the potential economic benefits of preserving and showing tourists the richness of their territory and culture.