WELCOME TO THE RAINFOREST.
with us it's still existing.
AMAZONICA wants to preserve the rainforest for all humanity.
For this purpose, we have developed innovative solutions
together with the indigenous peoples of the Amazon.
Tuco wishes you a sonorous autumn.
Mascha Kauka 1982
Mascha Kauka 2022
AMAZONICA TURNS 40
“AMAZONICA is committed to preserving tropical rainforests for humanity.” In pursuit of this goal, we’ve worked with the indigenous peoples of Ecuador to develop innovative solutions.
There are three nonprofit organizations under the AMAZONICA umbrella: the NGO INDIO-HILFE e.V. (founded in 1982), the AMAZONICA foundation (established in 2007), and AMAZONICA Akademie gGmbH (launched in 2015).
This year we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of our founding.
“We” refers to the founding members in 1982: Mascha Kauka (editor and publicist), her husband Uli Pohl (marketing manager), plus friends and family, all from Munich, Germany.
And that’s how it all began.
“Have you ever been to an area that’s whited out on the map?” asks Mascha and proceeds to tell her story: “While vacationing in Ecuador, one day my husband and I traveled by canoe into one such white patch near the country’s northern border. It’s covered with uncharted virgin rainforest that extends high up into the Andes above the Pacific Ocean. There we had a life-changing encounter with members of the indigenous Chachi people, river nomads that no tourists had ever glimpsed before.
“Because the chief’s family trusted us, we quickly learned that the Chachi and their rainforest were severely threatened: the Ecuadorian government had leased the entire region to timber companies that were demanding the removal of the indigenous population so they could carry out their logging activities without interference.
“There was only one solution, which the chief’s son explained to us: the government needed to survey the ‘white patch’ where they had lived for centuries and grant them legal title to the land. ‘You are the first white people that we can trust, so you have to help us. Please get our land surveyed,’ said Chief Tapuyo.
“As you’ve probably already guessed, we plunged wholeheartedly into the adventure of organizing (and paying for) everything so the Chachi wouldn’t be driven off their land and the rainforest would remain intact.
Mascha's report: All good news
A complete success and a total joy:
the tourism seminar organized by the University of Cuenca
Everything was ready at our AMAZONICA Academy. All of our 19 beds were booked.
Then they arrived on 9 January: two Cessna’s 206 with eight Achuar students from Rio Pastaza and a Cessna 182 with three instructors from the University of Cuenca:
Vanessa - Hotel business and housekeeping, Rafael - Culinary arts, and Miguel Ángel - Agriculture. All less than 30 years old, awesome people, and in the rainforest back country for the first time.
The Shuar students were mostly locals from Yuwints working with our project. They arrived on foot from neighboring villages, but Chumpi was a total hero. He is from the mountains to the south and walked for three days to participate in our seminar. In total there were 14 students, 19 to 52 years old. All have a general qualification for university entrance and are interested in working in the tourism industry.
Mens sana in corpore sano: "a healthy mind in a healthy body"
So a motley group had gathered: four women and 10 men – happy, hard-working, and tireless athletes. Most often, they played volleyball, but they also played soccer with the village residents, and went swimming together in the river and fished at night.
The instructors from Cuenca, located 2550 m above sea level, were completely amazed by the forest, our academy, and the students: "They are so genuine, so unspoiled, so positive", they raved. Okay …, I thought, but the fact was that this group was extraordinary with respect to both conduct and grades.
Class was held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Each day they studied two different subjects in theory and practice. Afterward they played sports, had an evening meal, and did homework. For the instructors who weren't currently in class, the older Shuar people gave tours through our thematic trails or had them practice with the blow gun. The Yuwints airstrip, which is 600 m long, was a favorite place to jog.
In the culinary arts area, the university had also planned to give a cooking course. But I removed it from the program and explained to the instructors that there were six Achuar men among the students. Just imagine: A proud Achuar man never works in the kitchen. Completely out of the question. He does not even enter the kitchen.
But no one starves. All of the Achuar and Shuar women who work with our project can cook – and really well! I have been giving cooking courses for years.
So instead we taught setting the table and serving, food hygiene, purchasing, and storing. Everything was really important and not below the dignity of an Achuar man. Especially popular were opening wine, allowing guests to taste it, pouring properly, and a friendly "Cheers!". Perfect.
Our Agustín, 34, the former president of the Achuar Confederation, had the best grade in the culinary arts with 20 of 20 points.
THE AMAZON DISASTER
A statement in August 2019 by Mascha Kauka, Founder of AMAZONICA
Dear friends, you all know it: the Amazon rain forest is burning!
The lungs of our planet, which could save us from the worst climate consequences, are in flames. The largest carbon sink in the world, which usually absorbs climate-wrecking gases, now sends unimagined amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It releases the poison it swallowed for us.
Satellite images show 72,000 seats of fire (seventy-two thousand!) spread over the Amazon Basin. 72,000 spots, where the forest burns, where the animals die and the vegetation is destroyed. The soil erodes and the largest freshwater reservoir in the world dries up.
Some know-it-alls will argue that it always burned in the rain forest in the dry season. That might be true, but in a natural way and controlled by nature.
82% of the current fires are started directly or indirectly by man. Directly through malicious arson and indirectly through deforestation and climate change (temperature increase).
And where are the seats of fire?
The densest distribution is in Brazil, where the forest destruction by man is strongest. The edges of the forest burn around every larger cleared and thus dry area. It is land to plant genetically modified crops, to serve as pastures for cattle, to build roads and dams, and land for the exploitation of non-renewable resources. It burns where the Amazon forest is already tortured and wounded.
The satellite images show that the forest is also burning in Bolivia and Peru.
The Amazon forest in Ecuador does not burn.
I dare to make the case that intact forest hardly burns, at least not beyond the known natural extent.
And why is it still intact? Because it is located on protected indigenous territories. At least in Ecuador, the entire Amazon rain forest is owned by indigenous peoples with land titles.
Not that these people are saints, but they do not play with fire.
In the west of the Amazon Basin from Colombia to Bolivia, the indigenous population is denser.
More indigenous peoples with more influence = less forest destruction.
Of course, the forest dwellers can fall victim to the temptations that various industries offer them, but much less often if they have alternatives. And that is exactly where the focus of the work is that AMAZONICA does:
"Protection of the tropical rain forest by supporting its indigenous peoples"
That's exactly what we do and what I have been fighting for the last 40 years.
We create education and employment, so that these peoples do not need to exploit the forest but conserve it.
All the more in Ecuador, where some of the headwater streams of the Amazon River originate.
Support our work and set an example for the Amazon!
Protect it together with AMAZONICA and our indigenous partners. We have to act NOW.
In the name of the Amazon rain forest thank you very much for every donation
and kind regards
Donations to Foundation "Stiftung AMAZONICA" – IBAN: DE31 7112 0077 0363 8664 09 – BIC: HYVEDEMM448 Of course, AMAZONICA will issue a donation receipt for donations of € 200.00 or higher. For donations below € 200.00, the tax office accepts the transfer voucher.
THE PEOPLES OF THE AMAZON WELCOME YOU. EXPERIENCE THE JUNGLE. VISIT OUR AMAZONICA ACADEMY
TAKE A LOOK AT THE BROCHURE
We proudly present AMAZONICA's very first travel brochure!
This is the next big step in our decade-long history. Finally, the AMAZONICA Academy is open to all visitors and able to offer our indigenous partners a stage for presenting themselves as professional hosts with their own tourism enterprises.
Our charitable organizations, INDIO-HILFE, the AMAZONICA Foundation, and the AMAZONICA Academy have jointly reached an important milestone. In 1999, leaders of the Shuar and Achuar ethnic groups in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador told us:
"We want our young people to have a healthy future on our own territory. Education, income, conservation of nature, and cultural retention are important to us. For this, we need allies."
That has been AMAZONICA's task and this vision has been shared with the Shuar and Achuar. For 15 years, we developed and tested "the model for modern living and working in the forest" in pilot projects. Community development, the AMAZONICA Academy, and
the opportunity for you to visit this innovative project are all significant milestones throughout our shared journey.
No matter what brings you to us, you will have exceptional and unique experiences; tropical forest ecosystems with mountain and river landscapes, indigenous peoples living in their own territories, regional culture and hospitality, international academic teaching and research, entrepreneurship with sustainable benefits for all – space, calm, harmony, and relaxation.
The jungle, the Shuar, the Achuar, and AMAZONICA welcome you to be a part of this.
Go from reading this brochure to visiting some of the most unique regions on our
For 30 years, AMAZONICA has met the 8 UNO millennium goals
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
AMAZONICA has confidence in education and, together with the respective groups, the foundation develops models for living and working in a contemporary world with dignity, without having to migrate. Creating jobs and income is important in the rain forest too.
Achieve universal primary education
AMAZONICA builds and maintains primary schools, makes secondary school attendance possible, provides scholarships for post-secondary studies and, in particular, supports training for craftsmanship and a skilled trade.
The work done by AMAZONICA meets the eight millennium goals set by UNO.
The points emphasized here are education, nature conservation, global partnership,
women and children. The AMAZONICA Academy is a perfect partner of the UNESCO education initiative for sustainable development. This unique institution serves the indigenous population
in the rain forest as well as international students and scientists and resolutely pursues
the goal of nature conservation through education.
A global partnership for development
AMAZONICA Academy is a prototype for global cooperation for the good of everyone. The first academy in the primary forest in indigenous territory creates local education opportunities and jobs by allowing young people all over the world to become familiar with the forest and learn to appreciate and preserve it.
Promote gender equality and empower women
AMAZONICA focuses on working with women because they are the heart and power source of the family. With great success, the foundation supports efforts to ensure that girls and women share and participate in everything and experience equality in all areas of life.
Reduce child mortality
AMAZONICA relies on education here as well, and particularly on hygiene. Mortality rates decrease dramatically in response to personal hygiene, a clean house, clean water and a minimal amount of medical care.
Ensure environmental sustainability
AMAZONICA is convinced that the future quality of life on Earth primarily depends on our ability to maintain the balance of nature as we are part of it. To protect the forest from inside, we rely on its indigenous population. The protection of the rain forest from outside must be ensured by all of us living in industrialized nations.
Improve maternal health
AMAZONICA has built countless health centers and also provides mobile consultation, with instructors that travel from village to village explaining what is important before and after giving birth. Both conventional and natural medical care are offered.
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
AMAZONICA fought a malaria epidemic for three years within the project region (10,000 sq. km). It was the most comprehensive campaign in the entire Amazon region and its success continues today: the region has been malaria-free for eight years.