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Fresh from the Amazon Rainforest to NPTC Group of Colleges

It was a warm welcome that greeted Javier Hualinga A Quichua, a native Indian from the Amazon Rainforest, who visited NPTC Group of Colleges as part of his first visit outside of South America.

Javier spoke to students at Neath and Afan Colleges, and gave a unique into his lifestyle and culture in the rainforest. He discussed deforestation, global warming and commercialisation issues that have affected his tribe and way of life.

Students from various departments across the College listened intently and asked questions. His talks fit into a number of key subject and topic areas including global citizenship, environmental issues, sustainable development, respect and diversity. This was his first trip to Wales, where he experienced snow and the traditional Welsh dish of lamb cawl.

He talked about growing up in the rainforest, sourcing food, livestock and housing. Javier is concerned that his way of life is changing due to deforestation and said:  “We realise that we can no longer protect the forest on our own. We used to hunt monkeys but now we find they are disappearing due to the destruction of the forest. The rainforest provides the world with so much in terms of food, medicines, clean air and water. I want to encourage people to become more aware and realise the importance of taking care of the planet; not just the rainforest.”

His community has set up the Sani Lodge where visitors can learn, share and begin to respect their culture. All profits from visiting their lodge go back into their community especially for health and education.

His visit was organised by Phil Williams from Bridgend who is the current Wales Sustainability Champion. Phil takes teachers, students and business people on fact- finding trips to the Amazon Rainforest; he is also a consultant on the environment and sustainability for Neath and Afan Colleges (part of NPTC Group of Colleges).

Phil commented: “This has been Javier’s first visit to a further education institution in the UK, it’s been a great success with a lot of engagement from the students interested in the environmental issues and their implementations on a global level. There is a possibility he will return to Wales in August.”

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