Our Story

The Llikchary Institute was founded in 2014, a 501(3) (c) organization registered in California, USA.  Volunteers visiting the community came to love the place and the people, and joined community member Danny Gualinga in his work to create the educational center he dreamed about. With fundraising and hard work, the facility was built, and Danny and colleagues were able to begin teaching students and hosting visitors.

Then, the covid-19 pandemic happened. All tourism shut down, cutting off income for the community and Llikchary. Without regular maintenance, the forest quickly reclaims traditional buildings, and the two visitor cabins fell into disrepair. The primary building was maintained as well as possible, but also has needed some repairs. During that same period, there were two catastrophic oil spills on the Rio Napo. The community is still suffering from the damage to the river, the lifeline of the people. Safe drinking water is still a concern, and the fisheries they once depended on are gone.

But the people of Sani Isla are strong.

The community is moving forward, and so is the Llikchary Institute! Our main building has been largely repaired, due to generous donations from our international friends, and is hosting visitors.

We are excited to be in the planning stage for our next step. We are gathering resources to start a year-long boarding school program for young people. As they are getting ready for adulthood, young people need mentoring and support in planning and preparing for the future. They need a full grasp of their own culture and the importance of their forest home. This is important for staying rooted in their indigenous identity and grounded in the community. That grounding helps them face the challenges and injustices of the outside world as they seek the benefits to be found there. Prepared, young people can join in solving the problems the community faces, and creating a sustainable, healthy, dignified and independent future for themselves, Sani Isla, the rainforest they love, and the planet.

Coordinating with the boarding program, we will expand our visitor programs and establish opportunities for longer-term, on-site international volunteers, students, scientists and teachers.

We invite you to join us in this adventure! Volunteer, donate, spread the word, come visit! When the hearts of people join in a common vision, we can create a better future.

The following video shows the beauty of the forest. It was made for our founding campaign, when the Llikchary Institute was still just a dream.