Chaikuni Institute 4
Chaikuni Institute Peru
Chaikuni Institute 3

In the indigenous Quechua language, there's a beautiful concept called Ayni, shaping communities with principles of mutual respect and interdependence. During an inspiring conversation with Stefan Kistler, Director of The Chaikuni Institute in Peru, he shared key aspects of their mission: The Institute exists to explore, champion, and safeguard equitable living systems rooted in indigenous wisdom and permaculture principles. Imagine a world where every action is driven by a deep sense of responsibility towards one another and the Earth. That's what Ayni embodies, and during the conversation with Stefan, it was clear, it's at the heart of everything the Chaikuni Institute stands for.

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Founded in 2013 as a Permaculture Centre, the institute is one of the main organisations in South America applying holistic and inclusive approaches, while blending ancient indigenous knowledge with innovative solutions for a sustainable future. As we delved into their work, we discovered three main pathways they navigate: Intercultural Education, Permaculture, and Human and Nature Rights.

Nestled outside Iquitos, their permaculture centre isn't just a place; it's a symbol of resilience and community empowerment. Here, Peruvian chacras integrales (holistic farms) intertwine with modern agroforestry techniques, creating a harmonious ecosystem that sustains both people and nature. Despite facing challenges like extractivism, the Chaikuni Institute remains committed to championing indigenous cultures and protecting the Amazon. Thanks to the Institute’s work, 9 hectares of holistic farms are growing in local communities and within the next year the aim is to expand the area to 24 hectares.

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Our conversation revealed something truly remarkable: A unique interpretation of permaculture deeply rooted in local wisdom. It could be described as a collaborative journey of discovery with a fourth ethos: Spirit-Care, where different knowledge systems merge, and communities are re-empowered to share and teach their ancestral knowledge. Through this process, they're not just preserving traditions; they're creating a future where people and the planet thrive in harmony.

They welcome volunteers and support from around the globe to join hands and raise funds to support their mission. If you are interested in learning about their impactful work check their website:

For more information have a look at their volunteer opportunities and their unique course offer in Peru.