WHO ARE THE EMBERA
The Embera are originally indigenous to the Choco area in Colombia, where they live in rural communities. However, due to internal conflict that is an ongoing problem in the Choco region of Colombia, many Embera are forced to migrate to other areas of the country. Because of Medellin's proximity to Choco, many Embera find their way to the city, hoping for safety and new opportunity.
HOW WE HELP IN CASA EMBERA
1. CHILDREN'S EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The Embera language and cultural norms are specific to each tribe and vary significantly from formalized Spanish and Colombian culture used in the Medellin school system. Because of these language and educational variances, the Embera struggle to thrive in formalized Colombian educational environments; they need extra attention and patience to learn a new language and catch up to other students their age. Our Children's Educational Assistance Program accompanies them in this process by reinforcing what they are learning in school, providing additional educational materials, and working with them one-on-one to ensure academic success and educational acclimation.
2. ADULT PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Like the Embera children, Embera adults also struggle with acclimating to city life and the workforce outside of their villages in Choco. To survive, many beg on the streets in Medellín or sell handmade beaded jewelry to sustain themselves and their families. Their life in the city is difficult; many families share one small room in gang-run housing that lacks sanitation, safety, and security. We help Embera adults adapt to city life through our 28-module program covering topics like resume writing and basic financial management, job placement, workplace expectations, sanitation, and parenting.
3. FAIR WAGE TRADE WORKSHOPS
Many Embera families beg on the streets or sell handmade Embera-style jewelry to meet their basic daily needs. However, this lifestyle comes at significant risk to their family as it is common for children found begging in the streets to be taken by police to Colombian government facilities. The Embera Bead Project works with the Embera adults to train and develop their ancestral art of bead-based jewelry while ensuring they make a fair wage for their work through our program. This jewelry is then sold right here at Reincorpated's webpage; the profits from each sale go to support Casa Embera and its other projects.
4. SANITATION PROGRAM
Over the past couple of years working with the Embera, we have noticed several chronic health issues, such as diarrhea and malnutrition, that have had long-term effects on adults and children and, in some cases, lead to death. Recently, we partnered with a health and nutritional specialist who helped us pinpoint specific areas of concern, hygiene, and sanitation in the community. Therefore, this sanitation program aims to educate the Embera on sanitation standards while providing simple, easy systems to help them achieve basic hygiene to improve their overall health.
5. NEW MOTHERS & LACTATION PROGRAM
In addition to sanitation, our health consultant pointed out an urgent need to work with expectant and new moms within the community to improve overall mom and baby nutrition and lactation. For example, it is not uncommon for babies to be fed sugar water instead of breastmilk or formula. This program aims to educate these women on proper health practices for themselves and their new babies while providing them with nutritional support, training, and developing older Embera leaders as “influencers” to impact the next generation of mothers.
Medical assistance is a complex issue among the Embra living in Medellin. There are four main reasons why the Embera do not seek proper medical attention. 1. Many do not have insurance coverage, and visits and medications can be costly. 2. There are cultural associations between what is considered a "Western sickness" that needs Western medicine treatment and "Embera sicknesses" or a curse that needs to be addressed by a Jaibana (Spiritual healer). 3. There is a cultural stigma based on experiential biases that hospitals are a place people go to die, not get better. 4. Finally, they often will avoid getting necessary medical treatment for their children in fear of them getting taken and placed in State Care. Monthly, The Medical Assistance Program will provide Embera with a safe and comfortable space to receive proper medical and dental attention at Casa Embera. These clinics will aid in the overall health and wellness of the community while providing statistical data to measure our effectiveness in improving nutritional and holistic health among our program participants.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Our ultimate goal is to make Casa Embera completely sustainable with the purchases of Embera Bead Project Jewelry, but at this time, it is currently only sustaining our Adult programs. To ensure the longevity of the children's program, we are looking for educational sponsors; our monthly expenses per child for our educational assistance program is $40/ child. We require 20-60 people who believe in what we do and want to empower this next generation of Embera people. You will receive a USA tax deductible letter for your donation and information on the progress of the child you sponsor.