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The Harakmbut indigenous people of Shintuya have maintained their language and culture despite 70 years of forced assimilation by missionaries, loggers, and goldminers.
Located on the upper Madre de Dios River in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Shintuya clusters around a Dominican missionary settlement built in 1954. The 200 people of Shintuya are direct descendants of the estimated 2,500 people decimated in the 1940s during evangelical missions by Catholic priests who carried diseases that their immune systems couldn’t tolerate.
In 2020, Rainforest Flow initiated a WASH program in Shintuya, as a part of COVID prevention in the region.
Before we arrived in Shintuya, an existing government water and sanitation system had collapsed. Unsafe stream water was being delivered directly to household taps. Their concrete sinks were deteriorated and unhygienic. Wastewater from the septic system had overflowed into the nearby river being used for bathing, washing, and drinking. Diarrhea, skin fungus, and weak immune systems threatened the health of the people.
In partnership with the families, local health personnel and schoolteachers, our three-year commitment in Shintuya includes ongoing hygiene education activities for children and families and continued monitoring to evaluate health outcomes. The water and sanitation committee also receives ongoing technical and vocational training to support long term project sustainability.
Rainforest Flow completely overhauled Shintuya’s water system within five months and installed slow sand filters, making the water safe to drink.