Living the Sustainable Life!
Living the Sustainable Life! was developed in the cities of Apurímac, Cusco, Huánuco and Lima in the summer of 2022. In our several visits to schools in these cities, we offered interactive workshops and lessons on environmental education to high school students (composed of 7th to 11th grade in the Peruvian educational system) and teachers.
We have strived to get a greater interest and emphasis on the importance of environmental education and eco-activism in the Peruvian school curriculum. Not only that, but our sessions were also designed for our students to develop their critical thinking, creativity and soft skills, which is why we included some activities such as creating sketches, expressing opinions, perspectives, solutions through a poster, a song or poem, research in class, work in small groups, debates, etc.
Peru has a very well-established and developed culture of sustainability, although it is not so linked to ecological ideals but rather arises as a result of poverty and economic inequality, which has motivated its inhabitants to create innovative and efficient survival strategies.
In this sense, the main objective of LTSL was to visit different schools in Peru and to be able to generate both physical and virtual discussion spaces around these environmental issues, so that we use education as the most powerful weapon against climate change. This is how we developed an experience of knowledge exchange around the country.
We also started our registration as a youth organization with Peru’s SENAJU (National Youth Secretariat) to publicize, support, and connect our work with similar mission-oriented organizations. Within the framework of this networking, the LTSL.PE team was able to participate in the IV International Recycling Symposium in Peru and learn about the work and ecological considerations regarding the use of plastics from different producers in the country.
Likewise, on our Instagram page, we have also connected with other organizations that advocate for the protection of the environment in Latin America and we have been using the platform to inform our audience about our work, but also about learning opportunities / information about a sustainable life. We hope to continue to refine this tool as it allows us to reach out to other young people interested in learning about environmentalism.
How the Funding Was Used
- City to city transportation (4 people, 4 cities) = $436.75
- City transportations (4 cities) = $148.50
- Food = $250
- Light snacks for sessions (250 people) = $50
- Materials = $28.50
- Additional (internet, presents, hygiene items) = $86.25
How They Made A Difference
Our sessions in Lima, Apurímac, Cusco and Huánuco during the months of July, August and September gave us the opportunity to raise awareness, inform and reflect with students and teachers on their current lifestyles, as well as plan improvements through the writing of their individual and group action plans. It has been a transformative experience to be able to listen to and work with groups of 20 and up to 120 students from different public and private schools.
Some of the issues we touched on were waste management, marine pollution, excessive use of plastics, sustainable agriculture, conspicuous consumption, among other latent global and national issues. Our priority has always been and will be listening to the voices of our students, therefore, the activities were designed so that they could share their perspectives through verbal, written and visual forms. Not only that, we also wanted them to get out of their comfort zone a bit so we fostered spaces where students from different grades could interact, meet and learn from each other.
In that sense, in addition to being able to interact with so many enthusiastic young people and teachers during the months of July to September, one of the things that makes us most proud is having made all the trips to the different cities by bus. It has been a great challenge since the distances could be 8, 16 or even 26 hours, although it was also an important transportation option to share and reflect in our sessions. We are proud to say that our carbon footprint was significantly less than if we had taken a plane! We are also proud of how much we have grown and how keen and dedicated the team is to designing the sessions, getting all the materials ready for them and lead the sessions in an outstanding way. All this allowed young people to continue sharing the message with their friends and family; thus, making an impact beyond the classroom.
Of equal importance was our participation in the IV international recycling symposium called “Camino a la Responsabilidad Extendida del Productor en Perú” (Road to Extended Producer Responsibility in Peru in English) of the Peruvian organization “Recíclame” held in August. All these events and achievements have motivated us and continue to motivate us to potentially have a virtual session during the Summer in Peru (January and February), so that we can continue to make a difference even despite the distance, since we are sure that we do not want to leave this great initiative in just a summer project.
Finally, we have also been able to spread the UWC mission and the opportunity to apply the movement to our students, trying to do our bit in the decentralization of educational opportunity.
How The Project Made A Difference for the Volunteers
The project has given us the great opportunity to manage and coordinate projects, lead/manage large groups discussions, and, of course, get involved in the different urban and rural communities of Peru.
If there is one thing we would like to change for our upcoming workshop season, it is to make sure that our sessions do not overlap with the Peruvian school system in July and August, as students have a 2-week mid-year vacation during this period.
In general, we are very grateful to GoMakeADifference! organization for the great opportunity provided, with the schools and teachers who provided us with the spaces and equipment to carry out our sessions and the great work of the team: Leini, Rubi, Fiorella and Briggite. Likewise, we appreciate the enthusiasm of the students and their impetus and effort to get the most out of our conversations. Being back in the Peruvian classrooms with them and participating in an interesting and transformative reflection was the best way to spend the summer.