Joro sits by the fire in her small Ayoreo community in central Paraguay, her hands pushed into the pockets of her yellow fleece. The cold has set in, and all around she can hear her friends and family coughing. Her partner, Chicode, is sitting beside her. Ravaged by disease, his joints are swollen and painful. Joro tells us, “he’s weak now and can no longer go out to hunt and bring back food for our children.” He’s around 39 years old.
It hasn’t always been this way; and it doesn’t need to be. Survival is fighting alongside the Ayoreo for their land, rights and survival.
As a child, Joro — a member of a then-uncontacted group of Ayoreo people — lived a healthier life in the forest. But in 2004, she fled her forest home with some of her family, forced to leave her mother and brother behind.
For years the group had been living on the run, terrified of the outsiders who were clearing their land for cattle ranching — and when the bulldozers razed their homes to the ground, many saw no choice but to leave the forest, and soon came into contact with people outside their community.
Since contact, around one-fifth of those who left the forest with Joro have died. Those who survived suffer from chronic ill-health. The community fears for its very survival.
“My mother and brother are still in the forest. I’d love to see them again, but I don’t want them to live how I do now.” - Joro, Ayoreo-Totobiegosode woman, Paraguay.
Joro’s story is far from unique. Uncontacted and recently contacted peoples all over the world are facing forced contact and genocide as we speak.
But where their lands are protected and their rights recognised, they thrive.
This November 28th is Giving Tuesday, a day that demonstrates the power we each have to make a difference. Support Indigenous peoples in their fight to protect their forests and homes today.
This month, two generous donors will match all donations up to £80,000 / $100,000, doubling the value of your donation at no extra cost to you.
Our goal is to raise £160,000 / $200,000 for our crucial campaign work. Will you stand with the Ayoreo this Giving Tuesday?