Medellín Utility Company EPM, Pueblorrico, Ciudad Bolivar & Antioquia Departmental Governments Deliver 2nd & 3rd of 10 Schools For Rural Indigenous Colombian Children
85 indigenous children belonging to the Emberá Chamí ethnic group in the the Hermeregildo Chakiama and the Bernardino Panchi reserves, near the rural municipalities of Pueblorrico and Ciudad Bolívar, southwest Antioquia, are now attending the new La Union and Ricardo González indigenous rural schools, built by the Aldeas de EPM program.
The Ricardo González indigenous rural school, delivered February 14, is composed of three circular wooden tambo-type modules. Of these, two are equipped for multi-functional classrooms and one for the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms for children. Traditions, customs, symbols and beliefs of the indigenous ethnic group were incorporated into its construction.
The indigenous rural school La Union was delivered March 25, in a special ceremony at 10:00 am, within the Aldeas program, thanks to an inter-administrative association agreement with municipalities of Pueblorrico, Ciudad Bolívar, Murindó, Urrao and El Bagre
With a total investment of $ 179 million pesos (approx. $550,000 USD), these are the 2nd and 3rd of 10 indigenous schools being constructed by the EPM Aldeas program, which incorporates mature wood from the forest plantations located around EPM hydroelectric reservoirs, to develop sustainable infrastructure that improves the quality of life of vulnerable communities in the region.
Aldeas (meaning ‘villages’) is a sustainability initiative of EPM, in which which the wood from late-stage lifecycle trees is periodically harvested from the more than 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of forest plantations that the company has around its reservoirs, to return social value through offering a portfolio of construction solutions for communities and territories with a high degree of socio-economic vulnerability and living in areas where EPM is present or builds and operates its energy infrastructure projects.
Between 2011 and 2018, the Aldeas program delivered 1,990 homes, benefiting 10,000 people in 23 municipalities of Antioquia, making the dream of owning or improving their homes come true. Aldeas is a program of environmental and social management for sustainable construction in wood, which includes infrastructure, social and community equipment (environmental classrooms, community halls, schools, playgrounds), tourist infrastructure and fencing.
The 10 indigenous schools are developed thanks to the inter-administrative association agreement between the Indigenous Management Agency of Antioquia, the Departmental Education Secretariat, EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín) and the towns of Ciudad Bolivar, Pueblorrico, Murindó, Urrao, Coredo and Bachidubi (municipality of Murindó), Caliche and Penderisco (municipality of Urrao), Hermeregildo Chakiama (municipality of Ciudad Bolívar), Bernardino Panchi (municipality Pueblorrico), Shoibadó (municipality El Bagre), Dojura (Chigorodó municipality), El Polvillo (San Pedro de Urabá) and El Delirio (Caucasia), and El Bagre, in order to “join forces” for the improvement of the quality of life of the indigenous communities within the framework of the Aldeas program for the department of Antioquia.
In addition to the inter-administrative association agreement, the municipalities of Chigorodó, San Pedro de Urabá and Caucasia were also added.
The indigenous schools are distributed throughout Antioquia, as follows:
- Two in the municipality of Murindó (Coredo and Bachidubi communities)
- Two in the municipality of Urrao (Caliche and Penderisco communities)
- One in the municipality of Ciudad Bolívar (community Hermeregildo Chakiama, the Ricardo González school)
- One in the municipality of Pueblorrico (Bernardino Panchi community, La Unión school)
- One in the municipality of El Bagre (indigenous community of Shoibadó, the San Pedro El Puerto school)
- One in the municipality of Chigorodó (Dojura)
- One in the municipality of San Pedro de Urabá (El Polvillo)
- One in the municipality of Caucasia (El Delirio)
The official ceremony and ribbon cutting for the Ciudad Bolivar school took place on February 14 and was attended by the Governor Luis Pérez Gutierrez of the department of Antioquia, Indigenous reserve Governor Albeiro Arcila, the Mayor of Ciudad Bolívar, Antonio Castaño, Ana Milena Joya Camacho, EPM’s Environmental & Social Affairs Manager, and the Indigenous Affairs Manager of Antioquia, Llanedt Rosa Martínez Ruiz.
The financial aspects of this agreement amount to $ 1,719,987,500 COP ($541,142 USD), of which EPM contributes $579,987,500 COP total: $335,000,000 COP cash, $214,987,500 COP in-kind (declared value of the approximately 945 tons of wood), and $30,000,000 COP worth of professional labor in the architectural and design work necessary for the construction of schools.