Voice of the Shipibo



“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Mother Teresa

I think of this quote from Mother Teresa as the indigenous people in Peru watch 75% of the Peruvian Amazon being leased to multinational oil and gas companies to quench the fossil fuel thirst of industrialized nations.  Sometimes it is difficult to imagine that the small contributions we make truly make a difference.  For me, the antidote is the people I meet along the way while nurturing the work of Shipibo Joi.  I call these individuals our Eagles because they are the people whose vision is big, who see that by being in action together we can create many ripples in the pond to create a sea of change.  As you read below, you will notice that Shipibo Joi is collaborating with others to be the change we would like to see in our world.




Shipibo Joi is preparing for our next trip to Peru in February 2013.   Shipibo Joi has been collaborating with two NGO’s; Girls for the World, the vision of Karen Hanson, and the Alianza Arkana who is providing technical support.  We will run the pilot program of Girls for the World for a group of 15 Shipibo teen girls.  Girls for the World was created by director Karen Hanson who has been offering this 5 day retreat for teen girls in India.  She has graciously accepted our invitation to bring it to the Shipibo tribe.  Girls for the World is a program to empower teen girls through creative process.  We hope that the program becomes a meaningful forum to grow Shipibo women leaders and to build a mentorship program for continued support for Shipibo teen girls.  It is our intention to create the opportunity for Shipibo girls to develop the leadership, confidence and vision for their own futures as the world of the jungle and the Shipibo culture faces many challenges into the future.  A Peruvian lawyer told me last year that teen suicide is a huge problem in the Amazon basin as young people are experiencing a sense of hopelessness and despair over the lack of resources for their future and the deterioration of the land that provided all the resources they needed to survive in the past.  It is our hope that we can contribute a positive, supportive, growth network among the Shipibo teen girls as they move into their own future, to give them a voice.

For more information on Girls for the World:  www.girlsfortheworld.org



Our second initiative involves Shipibo midwives.  Each Shipibo community has midwives.  We have been coordinating with the Alianza Arkana to develop this program.  Shipibo Joi has been providing support for a Shipibo practical nurse to visit two communities to bring supplies to the midwives, provide some basic health training and to interview midwives with a questionnaire we developed.  We are particularly interested in an integrative model that supports the Shipibo traditional use of plants in Shipibo midwifery, and other traditional prenatal, natal, and post natal knowledge with additional training that will improve birth outcomes and maternal safety.  This coming year, we are very pleased that a midwife from Germany will also work with us in Peru during 2013.  We will be meeting with the midwives when we return to Peru in February to further organize this program.



Maroti Shobo is a collective of 24 women in Yarincocha who create beautiful artesania.  I have been selling their work here in the states and have been invited to participate in a Fair Trades event in October to sell their work.  The sales benefit the women who create these unique and beautiful designs that are unique to the Shipibo tribe.  Maroti Shobo is fortunate to have a building where they have set up booths to sell their work.  In the rear of the building is a large space where many Shipibo groups conduct meetings and gathering of all kinds.  Behind that, there is a rather run down building where Shipibo from other communities can come to stay when they are in Yarinacocha.  When I was in Peru during the intense flooding in 2011, many families found shelter here when their own communities in the jungle were underwater.


Maroti Shobo is in great need of a new roof for their building.  It leaks terribly ruining art and further deteriorating the building.  Each of the women donated a few pieces of their work to sell toward a building fund.  We need to raise about $15,000 dollars to replace the roof.

We are always grateful to those who support our work through donations.

Mershona Parshall

Director, Shipibo Joi

Shipbo Joi is a participant in FJC’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program. FJC is an IRS-recognized 501c3 organization; as such, all contributions made in support of Shipbo Joi are fully deductible to the extent allowed by law.


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