But like other communities, Oviri was heavily oppressed and most members had to flee to protect their lives and traditions during the Shining Path era of the 1980s and 1990s.
When they returned a few years later, their villages had been burned to the ground. This upheaval, lack of resources and need to rebuild their lives led, inevitably, to a distancing of people from their connection with nature.
Thanks to the emergence of young and resilient leaders, Oviri took steps on the path to economic and population recovery. Their focus led to the rebuilding of the community, and within a few months, the thatched roofs and bamboo walls that make the traditional Asháninka houses had reappeared.
Today, the community faces a different set of challenges, as poverty, illiteracy and illegal logging pervades and threatens their surrounding rainforest. Cool Earth’s partnership with Oviri is helping to develop local financial resilience and sustainable incomes that help keep the forest standing.
Location: Junín Province, Peru
A lack of sustainable incomes and subsequent poverty places great pressure on the Asháninka forest. The need for healthcare and emergency cash means offers for the forest become attractive or unsustainable slash and burn farming is seen as the only option.
Despite knowing where to find food in their forest, it’s all-too-common for communities to suffer from malnutrition and a lack of protein in particular.
Geographical remoteness from education, health and food services creates greater challenges for the community when trying to become financially resilient.