January 31, 2011

Rescued from Loggers: Telma’s Story 3

January 2011

Part three of Telma’s story looks at the initial steps Cool Earth took to protect Telma’s community from loggers.

With loggers banging on the doors of Cutivireni village, Telma’s father, Cesar, contacted Cool Earth to see if there were alternatives to chopping down their forest, the source of the community’s food, building materials and medicines.

Understanding the urgency of the situation, within days Cool Earth reacted positively and were able to offer Telma’s father a much better proposal which combines an annual income for the community with rainforest protection and a participatory programme of training and investment of sustainable development.

Some of the initial support from Cool Earth was used to obtain a community canoe and outboard motor, particularly useful for transporting produce or people to the road-head for access to markets and shops, but also vital for unpredictable emergencies, such as accidents that require hospital treatment.  Other funds went to equip a team of Asháninka to mark the trees along the northern border of their rainforest territory to make sure that loggers who were operating in a neighbouring community didn’t take their trees by mistake.

Now, almost three years later, Telma herself is fully engaged in the ongoing project with Cool Earth.   Last year she was elected as Treasurer for TSIMI, the indigenous association established by the Asháninka to administer the income and funds from this partnership with Cool Earth to avoid deforestation.  In the last three months, Telma has learned how to use a telephone for the first time and is now getting her head around how to manage a bank account.  The nearest bank branch is over 100kms away, so for Telma to take money out of the bank means a journey of at least two or three days.

Over the coming weeks we will tell you Telma’s story and her work for TSIMI, part of Cool Earth’s project to help three Asháninka communities conserve their forest.


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