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Beyond Lagartococha: Solidarity, Nature, and Education

The fourth and fifth generations of our project Beyond Lagartococha, part of Fundación Raíz Ecuador – Caemba, traveled to the depths of the Amazon in April 2021, to the border between Peru and Ecuador.

The students from both generations traveled between April 2nd and 9th to the Siekopai (Secoya) communities of Painkenape and Mañokó, located in the Peruvian Amazon, just a few meters from the Ecuadorian side.

A bit of history:

Fundación Raíz Ecuador has maintained this project since 2015. Its aim is to promote the participation of young high school students from private schools in Ecuador’s final years to engage with two Siekopai indigenous communities in the Amazon and contribute to changing their reality.

Beyond Lagartococha aims to make city youth aware of the reality of remote communities, learn about their situation and the complex problems they face, and at the same time manage financial resources to support these communities in their most urgent needs.

Since 2015, Fundación Raíz Ecuador has worked with groups of students from the Americano and Menor schools in Quito, in a program that seeks to raise funds to support these two Siekopai indigenous communities. Due to their isolation and the small number of inhabitants, Painkenape, located near Nuevo Rocafuerte, did not have a school. However, this reality has already changed. In fact, during the April 2021 trip, the students dismantled the school and relocated it to another site within the community.

The Last Journey

On April 2, in the evening, the 11 kids from both generations traveled with the board of Fundación Raíz Ecuador – Caemba from Quito to El Coca, in Orellana. The next morning, they took a boat journey for just over 5 hours along the Napo River until they reached Painkenape, a Siekopai community located in Peru, passing through Nuevo Rocafuerte and very close to Yasuní National Park, which is on the Ecuadorian side.

On April 3, upon arrival, they had lunch and got to know this small community in the middle of the jungle. In the afternoon, they distributed school supplies and clothes. The kids also learned about Siekopai face painting techniques and had the chance to try it on their faces.

On Sunday, April 4, they worked on relocating the community’s school. They moved the bamboo structure to another spot in Painkenape. Once relocated, they performed maintenance on the materials. The old zinc roof was replaced with a new painted galvalume one. Additionally, a new floor was installed.

On Monday, April 5, the kids worked on installing 9 Anku Light project luminaires to illuminate this village, which does not have permanent electricity. This is an interesting initiative that identifies a community, trains volunteers in the manufacture and installation of luminaires, and finally trains the community in the proper use of the luminaires.

On Tuesday, April 6, the kids took the canoe to travel to the Mañokó community on the Lagartococha River in Peru. This community is located on the other side of the river from the Cuyabeno Faunistic Production Reserve in Ecuador. During this journey, the kids enjoyed watching pink dolphins in the Cocaya River.

Upon arrival in Mañokó, they got to know the community and socialized with its inhabitants. In the late afternoon, they swam in one of the lagoons of Lagartococha, where they also encountered dolphins.

On Wednesday, April 7, they participated in a community minga (joint effort) with the children and the entire community to paint their school and the teacher’s house, which is funded by Fundación Raíz Ecuador to teach in the community.

The kids also learned about the techniques for producing ancestral Siekopai ceramics. They enjoyed this space a lot as they shared their ancestral knowledge with the community. The kids were able to make their own pottery and other ceramic figures.

On Thursday, April 8, they traveled back to Painkenape, where they stayed overnight until Friday, April 9, when they began their return journey via the Napo River to Providencia and then to Quito.

This is how the fourth and fifth generations of Beyond Lagartococha had a beautiful journey, in the middle of the jungle, where they helped, enjoyed, and got to know these remote places in the Amazon. That’s Fundación Raíz Ecuador – Caemba: solidarity, nature, and support for education.

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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.