The stories of the Inca culture continue to be passed down orally from the oldest generation to the youngest in remote villages of Peru. Indigenous children in this project will draw the stories to make illustrated books for classroom use in a process adaptable for other indigenous cultures.
“Willakuyta Qhaway”(“To See the Story”)
In the heart of the Cusco Region of Peru is Machu Picchu, the most famous physical remnant of the legendary Inca Empire, a civilization that flourished without wheels, money, or a written language. What most people don’t know is that an equally important intangible vestige of their culture, their sophisticated oral traditions, has survived within the rural indigenous Quechua and Amazonian cultures throughout this territory. Unfortunately, the effects of urban migration are causing what used to be a familiar generational transmission of traditional knowledge by the elders to border on extinction. We support an innovative intergenerational project to preserve and disseminate the story-telling traditions of Cusco’s indigenous cultures.
An international group guided by ChildsPlayInternational (CPI) and Cultural Association Ayllu Yupaychay (“Guardians of the Respect” in Quechua) of Cusco, will create a pilot project to identify the most renowned traditional storytellers from the high Andes and the Amazonian zone of Cusco. Selected storytellers will present a range of their stories to an audience that will include groups of children (aged 9 to 15 years). They will listen and later interpret a chosen story in paintings on paper. The resulting illustrated stories will be exhibited in selected venues. Later, the paintings will later be assembled into a book prototype form for publishing. All project activities will be professionally documented in audio and video for subsequent production for educational purposes in the classroom.
CPI and Ayllu Yupaychay (YUPAY) will execute expeditions to the traditional Quechua Q’eros Nation and then to a village in the Amazon jungle to visit the Wachiperi and Machiguenka indigenous cultures. In each location a story-telling event will be held with the elder traditional story-tellers and the local children will make paintings about the stories.
A significant component of the preparations will be a three-day workshop to train a group of indigenous young people and aspiring professionals in video shooting and editing, who will then apprentice to the documentation team. After the project, Ayllu Yupaychay will receive the relevant skills and equipment to enable further training for the indigenous population to continue with the work of gathering content and generating products which preserve indigenous culture.
Rural teachers will be trained in YUPAY’s arts-based alternative methodology to accompany the groups of children to facilitate their painting of their story. Other children will create puppets to recreate the stories in theater and performance.
1. Cultural educational materials produced:
- Paintings by indigenous children of the stories of their oral traditions.
- Books of the traditional stories illustrated by indigenous children in prototype form.
- DVDs and other documentary forms of intergenerational cultural events.
- A teacher’s guide for realizing creative activities based on traditional stories.
2. Training of local participants: Indigenous participants trained in video technology. Teachers will be instructed in YUPAY’s arts-based methodology, developing creative activities based on traditional stories, myths, and legends.
3. CPI will produce professional video documentation of indigenous cultural traditions.
4. CPI and YUPAY will develop a format for replicating this pilot project in other countries to promote the preservation of indigenous cultures.
THE PLAYERS: ChildsPlayInternational, Cultural Association Ayllu Yupaychay, the Ministry of Culture of Peru and indigenous community members of the Cusco Region.
- ChildsPlayInternational, in the last six years, has conducted related projects in Pakistan, Haiti, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Ghana. (www.childsplayint.org)
- Ayllu Yupaychay has worked in remote rural Andean communities of the Cusco Region for over 25 years, improving the primary education of indigenous children with a culturally pertinent arts-based alternative methodology. (www.aylluyupaychay.org)
Willakuyta Qhaway”, Quechua for “To See the Story” is an inclusive cultural preservation pilot project that will give physical form through creative educational activity for the dissemination of the inter-generational transmission of Andean and Amazonian oral cultural traditions. This is a pilot project. Our objective is to create a replicable format that could be implemented for interested indigenous cultures throughout the world, so that their children can be joined by other participants in essential traditional and technological methods for documenting that which is uniquely theirs.