Sharing a Story of Transformation in the Amazon

Posted on Nov 14, 2011

Sharing a Story of Transformation in the Amazon News Post Image


Guest post by Alison Lowndes, Founder of AVIF and KO2 Adventures

AVIF is an innovative online charity that supports sustainable development in rural Kenya, East Africa and has also expanded to work with partner communities in the Brazilian Amazon and Tibet.

Being “virtual” means negligible administration costs and a potentially worldwide impact. As Founder Trustee of AVIF I signed up to Pimp My Cause to gain marketing support for our future projects as well as promotional support for a new social enterprise, KO2 Adventures. KO2 Adventures provides zero-emissions-dirtbiking to socially disadvantaged youth in North Yorkshire, UK.

Traveling on the Amazon near the river island community where AVIF volunteers will be providing conservation education.

After funding was confirmed to assist a school on the Amazon river island community of Combu Island, about 30 minutes by boat from Belém, Brazil I had a few days to try to get some publicity about this new project before setting off for an exploratory visit to the project. Pimp My Cause marketer Paul Holmes, of Howl Marketing, was able to quickly help me refine our press release and take care of distribution and follow up so I could focus on my travel plans.

I'd like to thank Paul for all his help with the press release. I look forward to working with him again in the future, hopefully under less rushed circumstances!

The main focus of the trip was to see the work being done in the Amazon so I can share it with our online volunteers and inspire volunteers to travel to Brazil to participate in the project.

AVIF volunteers will be helping to assist with conservation education and also staying and living on Combu Island, chaperoned by local organisation, AmazonArt. Life on the island and around "Amazonia" revolves around the river, around music, song, dance and the overall strength of family.

Young hip-hop artists streetdancing on Combu Island, Brazil.

Being a part of these communities even for only a few days has changed my perspective on so many things. Just a few of the inspiring moments from my journey included watching a group of young hip-hop artists streetdancing, sitting in awe watching a breathtakingly beautiful classical cello performance, seeing small children climbing trees to collect ACAI berries, watching the river rise and fall by over 6m every day, seeing how much productivity can be crammed into a single day, and seeing the power in "inspired" youth, given just a little guidance and support.

For anyone who would like to read the full media story, I’ve posted Paul’s press release below:

Nidderdale Charity’s Amazon Adventure

A founder of a Nidderdale charity will head out to Brazil next week to take part in an international collaboration to help conserve the rainforest. Alison Lowndes, who set up the volunteering charity, AVIF, will leave for Brazil on Monday to begin working with local organisations on a number of initiatives to raise awareness of the factors threatening the rainforest and to initiate and promote conservation projects.

The trip follows a successful event at Nidderdale High School last summer, funded via Harrogate International Festival and Live Music Now, which saw the school host The Brazilian Ensemble, an Amazonian folk music group. The event featured cellist Diego Carneiro de Oliveira who runs Brazilian charity AmazonArt, which uses music and art to raise awareness of Amazonian traditions and the importance of the rainforest and Amazon River to the environment.

Alison's charity, a global volunteering network that supports sustainable development initiatives in rural Kenya, East Africa, the Amazon and Tibet, was responsible for funding being awarded for the Amazon project by Travel2Change, an Austrian organisation backed by Kuoni and Alison was chosen to be part of the team assisting the projects.

“I’ll be helping out with improvement work to an education centre in the community of Combu Island, about 30 minutes by boat from Belém, in northern equatorial Brazil and then I’ll be travelling deeper into the rainforest to help out at the Ama Institute, which teaches the fine art of making instruments from the Amazon wood,” said Alison.

“The great thing about our charity AVIF is that anyone can help, even from their own home, because much of the volunteering work is done remotely online. Its just me sat in an armchair with a laptop"

"I’m looking forward to seeing the work that’s being done in the Amazon and experiencing it all myself so we can then share it with other online volunteers or travelers through AVIF in the future.”

Donations have already made been made by Betty's and Taylors of Harrogate and Barclays Bank who have sent out stationery for use at the workshops to be held during the visit. There is a fundraising text service provided freely through Vodafone where you only need to text AMZN04 £10 to 70070 (or any amount) to assist. 100% of the donation goes to the the conservation work (120% due to giftAid if you're a UK taxpayer).

Anyone wishing to know more should contact

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