Colombia is an A ncestral country . 30 percent of the territory is inhabited by indigenous communities that have an essential legacy of our culture and origins. Do you know how many ethnic groups exist in Colombia? Do you know their customs and linguistic richness? Of the 607 indigenous peoples of Latin America, 103 live in the country and 35 of them are at risk of extinction. The ignorance of its multicultural wealth,
the lack of protection of their rights and the violence has displaced them to a hostile terrain where their traditions tend to disappear.
Aware of this panorama, the Sura Foundation carried out a deep anthropological and sociological investigation of these communities that gave rise to its educational proposal Ancestral Indigenous Wisdom-SAI- which seeks to educate the children and young people of the country in their knowledge, practices and values to rescue their cultural memory.
To achieve its objective, Grupo Sura with its great ally Colombia Games, developed the SAI apps , four applications that contain all that magical and wise universe of indigenous cultures and that can be downloaded for free on GooglePlay and AppleStore: Children’s Activities , Stories Magic Tales of the Ancients , Magic Tales of the Ancients 2 and Hidden Objects.
Each video game allows students, teachers and people interested in knowing the indigenous communities , immerse themselves in the mystical and natural world of the Kogui, Emberá, Guambiana, Sikuani, Kurripaco, Wayúu, Huitoto, Misak, Kuna … through a sound and visual journey with fun games and animations. Once there, they can explore landscapes, music, iconography. Characters from each community tell surprising stories of indigenous mythology such as the origin of fire and water, the role of animals, oral tradition and their beliefs. They will be able to see impressive artifacts and learn about the aesthetic characteristics of each ethnic group, such as clothing, the way they use it on the body and art as a means of expression.
Social impact of SAI applications
Apps are part of the new language used by recent generations and allow them to learn while having fun. But why is SAI apps considered a good strategy for raising awareness among indigenous communities ? “Having applications that are not only seen in Colombia but throughout the world helps to generate recognition of the values and traditions of cultures,” says Cecilia Duque, SAI project director.
From October 2014 to November 2017, a total of 62 thousand downloads were made worldwide, standing out as an interesting fact, that 23,901 of them were in China. It is followed by Colombia with 12,985 downloads, Mexico with 4,573, the United States with 3,085, Spain with 2,669, Venezuela with 1,755 and Chile with 1,626.
This project also includes applications, Indigenous Ancestral Wisdom learning guides that serve as orientation for teachers with the new school methodology. It has been developed in 23 regions of the country in indigenous, rural and urban areas, in the departments of Caldas, Guanía, Vichada, Casanare, Caquetá, Magdalena, Vaupés and Quindío and in the city of Bogotá.
The great social impact for indigenous communities is the conservation of memory and their traditions at a time when they are losing their identity, according to director Cecilia Duque. “An indigenous man told me that when grandmothers die, this work is very necessary for them,” he says. That is why education is aimed at “indigenous children not forgetting their identity and recognizing their value.”
In this sense, the recognition of indigenous people by non-indigenous children is evident. “A teacher told us that peasant children despised indigenous children who came to the community displaced, but when they learned about their cosmogony and knowledge, they respected and recognized them,” says Duque.
Likewise, the resources allow to recover the language, taking into account that when the indigenous people go to school they stop speaking their native dialect. In Colombia there are more than 60 indigenous languages that remain alive and that belong to thirteen linguistic families, such as Wayyú and Arawak.
From 2014 to 2016, 1,800 teachers were trained and close to 50,000 children were reached. Between 2017 and the first semester of 2018, 800 teachers are expected to be trained to reach 30,000 children, according to the director. In this second stage it is intended to return to the teachers who were trained to monitor quality and continuation.
Due to its significant contribution to national ethnic groups, the Indigenous Ancestral Wisdom project is being evaluated by the Ministry of Education to see the possibility of adopting it and starting a pilot project with its methodology in La Guajira.