SPI’s ‘People Not Stones 2013′ Crowdfunding Campaign Has Launched!

The Sustainable Preservation Initiative has launched its first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com, an online platform where people can create fundraising campaigns to tell their story and get the word out about their important mission. We have had great success in empowering entrepreneurs, creating jobs, and preserving cultural heritage. Now we want to do it at more sites and let everyone know about our new paradigm that saves sites and transforms lives.  Crowdfunding offers the opportunity to do both with a brand new audience as of yet unfamiliar with SPI.

Our Mission: To alleviate poverty through economic development in and save the sites of Bandurria, Peru, and Chotuna – Chornancap, Peru.

Our Funding Goal: $49,000

Bandurria

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Pyramids older than those of ancient Egypt still stand at the archaeological site of Bandurria, where excavations have also uncovered ancient homes and a cemetery that belonged to a complex society that marks the origins of civilization in the Andes. However, alongside this rich cultural heritage is a community living far below the poverty line, with no running water or electricity.

Chotuna community


Our project aims to alleviate this poverty by empowering local entrepreneurs in the community. It will construct a communal artisan and visitor center where local residents can produce and sell their traditional reed and rush handicrafts and train future artisans, creating more local jobs in the community. The project includes a store for these handicrafts, a snack bar, and clean toilets for tourists. In addition, our project will provide the only source of potable water and electricity available to the community.

Chotuna – Chornancap

Chotuna monumental

The archaeological site of Chotuna – Chornancap is a 235-acre monumental temple and pyramid complex where several remarkable, one-of-a-kind ancient royal tombs have been discovered (See National Geographic article here). Similar to Bandurria, however, the community living near the site is very poor. There are few jobs, little income and no opportunity to escape this cycle of poverty. Our project invests in local textile, metal embossing, and gourd artisans, funding the construction of a facility for artisan training and production and a sales area for their work at the site. It also includes a picnic area and snack bar to generate additional revenue for the community. Our funding will also build a store and showroom at a major museum (Museo Bruning) for these handicrafts in the nearby city of Lambayeque where guidebooks and brochures for the Chotuna site will also be available.

Help us save sites and transform lives! Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution at indiegogo today and spread the word by liking our campaign on Facebook, posting about our crowdfunding campaign on your own Facebook page, retweeting us on Twitter, or pinning our project video on Pinterest!

Thank you for your support!

Celebrating Cultural Heritage through Education: SPI Inspires More Work in San Jose de Moro, Peru

by Yasmin Hamed

SPI’s initiative at San Jose de Moro is inspiring other work in the community! In recent months, Claudia Vargas Ortiz de Zevallos, educator at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, has been conducting research into the strategies used in primary education to develop Mochica cultural identity in local students. Seeing local entrepreneurs embrace their cultural heritage through SPI’s unique paradigm of economic development and preservation, Claudia was inspired to study the relationship between the local community’s schools and their cultural heritage.  The results of her work will hopefully allow schools to diagnose the type and variety of activities needed by the teachers to promote the cultural identity of their students. We are proud to announce that San José de Moro’s own primary center will be the pilot school for the province, and Claudia plans to extend her work to the community of Chotuna-Chornancap, one of SPI’s newest “People Not Stones” project sites.

Educator Claudia Vargas presenting her research to Carlos Wester La Torre, head of excavations at Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru.

Here at SPI, we have seen the real effects of a change in attitudes toward cultural identity through embracing local cultural heritage. We are delighted that our work in this community has prompted even more research into the area of cultural heritage and refocused attention on San Jose de Moro as a result. We can’t wait to see the results of Claudia’s work, which will hopefully see future generations of local residents preserving their archaeological site and promoting their cultural heritage through traditional artisan crafts.