Indigenous People Publications

Andy and Ruby D’Amato plan another fund-raiser for Ecuadorian school

Andy D’Amato chops a tree in the Ecuadorian jungle. His daughter Ruby in dark blue watches with a group.

Forget the tales of difficult journeys of getting to school that your great-grandfather may have told.

How about going about 21 hours, including six hours on a night bus and nine in a canoe on a river teeming with piranha?

And, as you go, you lug with you prefabricated bamboo sections of the school that you will have to build because there isn’t one where you are going.

That was the daughter and father dream trip that Ruby and Andy D’Amato went on to Ecuador last July.

The pair set out to help construct a school deep in the Amazon jungle with about 10 other representatives from Beyond Lagartococha, a non-profit that seeks to provide an opportunity for schooling and help preserve the traditional culture of the indigenous people there.

Last year, Ruby and two fellow Milton High School seniors, Elena Curran and Sarah Ford, raised about $10,000 at a fundraiser at the restaurant known for its use of lower case letters: the plate in East Milton Square. The plate’s owner is Suzanne Lombardi, Ruby’s mom.

“I wanted to see the process come full circle,” Ruby said.

For Andy, who had never been out of the country, it was “a crazy once in a lifetime trip.”

Lombardi added with a smile, “And I had to let them go.”

And, if wading up to their knees in mud in searing temperatures and uncovering a tarantula the size of a man’s hand weren’t enough to experience once, they hope to do it again, or at least the fundraiser portion of it.

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement

Fundación Raíz is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), working with indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian, Montubio, and Mestizo groups across Ecuador.

Our projects support various communities: Sionas, Siekopai, Kofan, Chachi, Kechwa, Waorani and Shuar, covering six linguistic families.

Our CAEMBA housing initiative focuses on the Afro-Ecuadorian and Montubio populations in Esmeraldas, addressing challenges of poverty and high crime rates. We commit to equitable treatment, opportunities for all, and the elimination of barriers to participation.

By valuing every voice and fostering community resilience, we aim to create a more inclusive, equitable society.

Our leadership is committed to DEI principles, ensuring our efforts reflect the diversity of the communities we serve and contribute to sustainable development and social justice.


Fundación Raíz está dedicada a la diversidad, equidad e inclusión (DEI), trabajando con grupos indígenas, afroecuatorianos, montubios y mestizos en todo Ecuador.

Nuestros proyectos apoyan a varias comunidades, Sionas, Siekopai, Kofan, Chachi, Kechwa, Waorani y Shuar, cubriendo seis familias lingüísticas. Nuestra iniciativa de vivienda CAEMBA se centra en las poblaciones afroecuatorianas y montubias en Esmeraldas, abordando desafíos de pobreza y altas tasas de criminalidad.

Nos comprometemos a un trato equitativo, oportunidades para todos y la eliminación de barreras para la participación. Valorando cada voz y fomentando la resiliencia comunitaria, aspiramos a crear una sociedad más inclusiva y equitativa.

Nuestro liderazgo está comprometido con los principios de DEI, asegurando que nuestros esfuerzos reflejen la diversidad de las comunidades que servimos y contribuyan al desarrollo sostenible y la justicia social.