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“The change”, from the people themselves

by Luis Montano

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Interview with Ramiro Yagkur

Campos Family Father Association President (APAFA), Agricultural Community College Community of Cucuasa

My name is Ramiro Yagkur, a native of the Cucuasa community, Rio Santiago district, Amazonas region. I welcome you, who have come from far away to get here, from Lima to Bagua it is 22 hours by bus, from Bagua it is 4 hours by truck to Nieva, from Nieva to Puerto Galilea it is 4 hours by river and from Puerto Galilea to Cucuasa takes approximately 6 hours, depending on the boat. We are a native community, where we are is very remote. We are located very close to the Peruvian-Ecuadorian border.

Here in the upper parts of the Santiago River there are many needs in our educational institutions and the presence of public entities is barely felt. All the communities in this area have the same needs, many of the teachers and locals feel that we aren’t competitive in our education. There is a lot of need, but thanks to the work of the NGO Light Up the World, these schools are going to have light. I am a former student of these institutions and in my generation, we studied with a lamp that used kerosene and a wick. Another way to generate light if the kerosene ran out was to get copal resin, wrap it in a sheet, and ignite it. These were the only ways to get light and with that, we did our homework. Currently many students leave aside their homework due to the lack of light and have to use flashlights, for which they must buy batteries. After using the batteries, where do they throw it away? They keep buying new ones and polluting with the old ones.

Speaking of pollution, generators consume and produce a lot of carbon dioxide. To me, it is very important that we believe in this different option, that gives us clean energy and taking advantage of nature itself. People here are confident that through this system there will not be further contamination. We want to stop buying fuels and oils, of which their containers are often thrown into the rivers. We don’t want to be like everyone else and continue polluting. Here we want to anticipate pollution before it happens and take care of our environment and the habitat of the forest animals, rivers, and insects.

By having this photovoltaic system that takes advantage of the sun’s energy and a battery that will last a long time, there is already a change. From now on, this school has an advantage where students have greater accessibility and will be able to dream beyond. Now the students and teachers will be able to print, inform themselves, and charge their tablets, that the government has sent to different institutions, like the ones here in Cucuasa. What we needed was electricity to use these appliances. I am very grateful for the NGO, for their support and for having prioritized the institutions of this community. These services are the basics that all cities have, and now we have the essentials here as well.

Students used to feel forgotten and left behind, but now they can be more competitive. We will advance little by little,  having recently  started on this journey. They are the future of the country, and leaders of the region or maybe a leader of the country may come out of this community. Many children have very big dreams, and now that we are competitive because we have energy, tablets, and Direct TV programs they will be able to take advantage of that and make their dreams come true.

I thank the community members and the parents, for not just waiting for help to arrive or for everyone else to install and build the systems, then just leave. Count on us, NGO Light Up The World and Direct TV, we appreciate that you have brought us something that helps us a lot, we assure you that the population is with you. We hope you can continue working and extending your support, because there is a lot of work to be done in remote places of the country.

Ramiro Yagkur

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