Indigenous Rights 2021

featuring the university of auckland

Kia ora! Last July we virtually welcomed a group of students to the third edition of the Indigenous Rights program, offered in partnership with the University of Auckland.

This is a very special program for us that had its first edition in January of 2020, when we received the first group of students for an on-site program, funded by the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America!

Indigenous History and Rights in Brazil, January 2020

january 2020 - 1st edition

The students spent almost a month in Brazil for a unique experience learning about Indigenous rights, talking to Indigenous activists, politicians, artists, visiting communities and learning about Brazilian history and culture.

We were honored to hear from our friends in Auckland that this first edition of the program was nominated for the GoAbroad Innovation Awards 2020, as a finalist in the Innovation in Diversity category. This program was a team effort and we are very grateful to have been part of this achievement. You can read more about the students’ experience here.

january 2021 - 2ND edition

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, we had to deal with the challenge of adjusting the program to the online format and, in January of 2021, we virtually welcomed our second group of students for the Indigenous rights program.

This time, we created a hybrid version of the program. Besides the classes, virtual meetings with Indigenous activists and leaders, we added a fun cultural element – a hands-on Indigenous cooking workshop, where the Auckland students teamed up to learn how to make a typical dish, taught by chef Kalymaracaya, and the famous Brazilian brigadeiro.

We also brought them a challenge: how can we help bring awareness to the many issues the Indigenous peoples of Brazil are facing right now? To help the Auckland students, we invited some Brazilian students to help contextualize our reality while working in multicultural groups to achieve their goal. We were honored to partner with ISA – Instituto Socioambiental to help students understand the current situation and think of ways to reach out to the people and bring awareness to such important issues.

The Amazon today: deforestation and fires – students created a website to bring awareness to this issue. Indigenous Rights program, January 2021

"This program helped me to broaden my understanding of global citizenship, which encouraged me to think deeply and critically about what is equitable and just. Taking part in this virtual experience also helped strengthen independence, time management, adaptability and cultural awareness, which are all skills pursued by employers but can best be learned beyond the traditional classroom setting."


University of Auckland student

The Projects

The groups were free to create their own projects and the outcome couldn’t have been better! One of the groups created a website to bring awareness to the current issue of deforestation and fires in the Amazon, which affect not only the environment, but the Indigenous communities living in that region. The second group wrote a letter to Congresswoman Joênia Wapichana, the first Indigenous woman to be elected to congress in Brazil, sharing their support and concern about how Indigenous peoples are facing huge setbacks on policies and threats to their territories from illegal activities. Lastly, but certainly not least, the third group wrote an article about the conflicts of illegal mining and the environmental impact of hydroelectric plants on the ecosystems and Indigenous territories.

We were all impressed and with what the students presented, it was very inspiring and amazing to see their passion and the work they put into the projects!

Indigenous History and Rights in Brazil, July 2021


Last July, we welcomed another group of students to the third edition of the Indigenous rights program.

During the 3 weeks of the program, students had the opportunity to learn about Indigenous rights in Brazil with guest lectures from inspiring Indigenous activists and leaders, while working in multicultural groups on a project in partnership with IEB – International Institute of Education of Brazil. This time, their challenge was: How can we help amplify and support the voices of the Indigenous women of Brazil?

"For me, co-creating knowledge and paths to an Ancestral Future, with people from different parts of the world, united to learn from the Original People, is what motivates me to follow the Fight for Life and also the only possible path for us to Free The Future. In this sense, I would like to congratulate and thank everyone who contributed to the collective construction of this experience, stating that our path is the people who do it. AWEI for so much learning!"

Paloma Costa

Program Mentor and Secretary General’s UN Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change

Auckland students were invited to experience a hands-on workshop about Indigenous cuisine, where chef Deborah Martins taught them how to make moqueca and they were also invited to lunch in New Zealand, where they enjoyed Brazil’s famous feijoada, which helped them to get to know each other better and break the virtual barrier.

The Amazon today: deforestation and fires – students created a website to bring awareness to this issue. Indigenous Rights program, January 2021

All groups did an amazing job and we could not be happier! It’s always an honor to be a part of this program and we would like to thank the University of Auckland, IIEB, Paloma, the students and all of our fantastic guests for another successful program. You can read more about the students’ experiences here. Ngā mihi!

"I believe that this experience was extremely important for my personal and professional development. I felt even more encouraged to work professionally in the area of human rights, given its importance, especially when talking about the theme of social justice. Certainly, my best memory involved exchanging knowledge with New Zealanders as we shared ideas and learned a lot from each other. I am sure to say that this memorable experience will be remembered by me forever and when I will be working professionally in the area of human rights, perhaps with indigenous communities, I will look back, remember this experience and feel grateful for having the opportunity to participate in this incredible program."

Mariana Bialski

Brazilian student

Written by:

Gabriela Vanzelli

Campus b Team

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