Ecuador – Salesians great work in Ecuadorian Amazon with native Achuar

05 December 2017

(ANS - Wasakéntsa) - For 40 years the Salesian community "Ceferino Namuncurá", located in the Ecuadorian province of Morona-Santiago, has been carrying out fundamental work for the education and respect of human rights of the indigenous Achuar who live in the Ecuadorian Amazon, in an area that can only be reached by air.

The Salesian mission Ceferino Namuncurá is known as Wasakéntsa in the indigenous Achuar language. It is in the middle of the jungle, with no access by land routes. It was built by placing some houses around a field. There is nothing to buy and there are no services. The food is almost the same every day and is based on game and crops of yucca, banana and rice. The climate is very humid and warm, and there are no toilets or drains and the mission collects and uses rainwater.

In the region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, Salesians animate a bilingual secondary school and a bilingual higher education center, in Spanish and Achuar. The 6 teachers hired are Achuar and, like the students, have rooms at their disposal; otherwise, due to the distances of travel in the jungle, many young people would not be able to attend classes.

In their work, the Salesians try to keep alive the traditions of Achuar culture through crafts, music, songs and dances.

The Salesian mission is located inside the very community. The Achuar lent the Salesians a plot of land on which the latter built 7 houses; it is where up to 80 people can live, and 113 young people between the ages of 13 and 18 years study. A boarding house for girls was also erected, and is managed by the Marianite Sisters (Institute of Santa Marianna di Gesù).

The Salesians have worked hard towards bringing reading and writing skills to the Achuar community and to raising awareness of the rights they are entitled to. Now even the natives know Spanish, and are able  to visit other communities and relate to external people without fear of being deceived.

In more than thirty years of work with the Achuar in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Salesians have contributed to defending their territories, fostered friendly relations with other indigenous communities, opened schools of literacy, and with the local Achuar, defended and participated in the development of a sustainable economy.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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