The Radio Star: Social Change in the Peruvian Amazon

The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund aims to protect the last wild places in the ocean while facilitating conservation, research, education, and community development programs in the places we explore. This blog entry spotlights some of the exciting work our grantees are doing with support from the LEX-NG Fund.

By Madeleine Pauchet

Who here grew up with the Internet? As a young 20-something woman in the U.S., I did. Who here turns to the Internet in times of urgent diagnostic need? I’m talking, “stubbed my toe–do I have low blood sugar?” or “was my stomach ache brought on by eating seventeen dill pickles?” But also, and more importantly, “how do I do a breast self-exam?” or “what are my contraceptive options?”

Now picture you were born in the Peruvian Amazon. You definitely don’t have Internet access: at best, maybe a few faded books in the public school. Your thatched rooftop shakes every night from the commotion next door. You don’t know exactly what’s happening, but the broken glass that litters the ground the next day tips you off.

In hushed voices, you’ve spoken with your neighbor. She doesn’t want any more children, but her husband won’t hear of it. Where you live, women do not have a voice in their homes or the community. It is accepted that men have the right to be violent with their wives. There is no venue to report abuse. With no internet or reproductive health education, family planning is rare, and families do not have the money or resources to address urgent medical needs.

Girls drop out of school early; the cycle is perpetuated.

To help women in these marginalized, rural communities, the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund supports Minga Peru, a non-profit organization. Founded in 1998, Minga operates in the Loreto region of the Peruvian —> Read More