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Address: Reina Victoria N21-226 y Vicente Ramón Roca, La Mariscal
Quito - Ecuador
Phone: +593 2 252 3777

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Yachana Foundation > News Foundation 1

Education

4th Year Students - Group B

In the Amazon region of Ecuador, poverty, environmental degradation and poor quality of public education are all inextricably linked. Thirty percent of elementary school children in the Amazon region do not finish the 6th grade. Only 15% finish secondary school. Students drop out because they feel the current public education available in their remote communities is impractical and irrelevant to their everyday lives. To address these issues, in October 2005, the Yachana Foundation opened the Yachana Technical High School to benefit high school-age indigenous and mestizo students who live in remote rural communities in Ecuador's Amazon region. Meaningful education is the key to reversing generations of poverty, raising environmental awareness and ensuring the sustainable use of the region's natural resources. With the proper preparation, Amazon youth can become good stewards of their land, leaders within their communities and ambassadors for the Amazon. They can learn how to be successful entrepreneurs, gain the tools needed to improve their standard of living, and create environmentally sound employment possibilities in the rainforest.

The Yachana Technical High School was a non-traditional boarding school providing a practical and relevant experiential learning approach. It helped to forg a new generation of green leaders and entrepreneurs and sparked students' interest and desire to continue their education. The program promoted conservation of the Amazon's biodiversity through teaching sustainable use of natural resources, providing professional skills to improve chances for employment, and mentoring management of student-run ecological enterprises. Subjects included ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, forest and wildlife management and environmentally sustainable micro-enterprises.

 

Recently Yachana closed the high school in order to develop programs to enhance public school education in the region beginning with a pilot program in schools in the local community of Mondaña that will start in September 2012.

 

While Yachana's philosophy is that education be relevant and practical, there is still the challenge of a digital divide between the rural Amazon students and the rest of the world. In early 2006, the Yachana Technical High School Internet and Media Center was opened. Equipped at the time with a 2,000 watt solar array and an innovative hydroelectric system, high-speed satellite communication and the latest in solar powered wireless mesh-box repeater technology, the Media Center provided an opportunity for the students of the high school to have access to information and to communicate with students and others throughout the world.

 

The Foundation is constantly looking for solutions to challenges we incur living and working in the rainforest environment. Therefore, we developed the Yachana T1 solid-state computer. This little CPU only used 11 watts of power and had no moving parts. The computer was made up of component parts so if any part broke, it could be replaced and the entire computer was not lost. 20 of these computers were in operation for the students.


Young people from the Amazon region of Ecuador have traditionally learned by "doing," not sitting in classrooms. The Yachana Foundation is providing an extensive "campus" of 4,300 acres (1,740 hectares) of land and infrastructure worth 1.3 million dollars for the students to use in this learning process. Yachana Technical High School students learned by being actively involved in all aspects of the Foundation's ongoing development and ecotourism projects. The approach is different because the Yachana Foundation and now student-run Yachana Lodge are giving students access and participation in adult-level operations, financial management, experience dealing with tourists, training in accounting, and participation with visiting international students and volunteers. 

 

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation and know you are helping ensure the success of our  onling education programs that are making such an important impact in the lives of the present and future custodians of the Amazon Rainforest! 

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