Relating in a sacred way with Nature
Elena is a free spirited woman who has brought a model of educational transformation to Peru. Based on a research paper called "How do children learn in the Andean zone of Cusco?" Elena has begun inspiring school teachers in the province of Canchis, Cusco, to introduce a bilingual intercultural education model for rural areas, to their classrooms.
For more than a decade, Elena has been promoting the incorporation of local wisdom to the educational process, including, as a pedagogical means, the creation of school farms as a way of bringing children back to nature, and teaching valuable life skills and imperative traditional knowledge to future generations. Today more than 3000 children from different schools have experienced the program of cultural affirmation with the support of the Center for the Promotion of Intercultural Wisdom (CEPROSI).
Elena says: “To kill social culture is the way to blind a community, so what it is about is to promote a loving revolution, which means relating in a sacred way with nature, where the greatest decolonization of thought happens when you manage to raise a plant or in the best case, raise your farm with your own hands ". So, for Elena, a true defender of life, this only happens when we sow.
More About CEPROSI:
CEPROSI is a non-governmental organisation operating in inter- cultural education. It employs specialists in bilingual education, Andean agriculture and community social work. For several years there has been an intensive exchange with the ministries for education and culture.
In seven schools in the Cuzco region a learning model was developed that supplements the state curriculum by locally adapted, intercultural environmental education, along with manual trades and agricultural content. This links up with the traditional ecological knowledge of the Andean population. Educational material has been created and 80 teachers are given further training. Eighteen medicinal herb gardens and 79 school fields have been set out. The gardens are looked after by children and parents together and demonstrate the variety of foodstuffs that can grow in the Andes. In 2017 the cereals and vegetables harvested supplemented the food consumed by 1,150 children and enabled them to enjoy a balanced diet.
In 2017, 72 trained teachers passed on the curriculum tried out at pilot schools to 895 colleagues from other schools. Subjects like biodiversity, use of water, nutrition, traditional knowledge and climate change were integrated into the curriculum.