Report of the activieties undertaken by the Foundation 2015-16


The Foundation made ex gratia payments to the following beneficiaries:

Glacier Trust Nepal earthquake relief

Listening Books

The Courtauld Institute of Art Fund

The Microloan Foundation

English Touring Opera

The Bach Players

Crisis Homeless

Children with Cancer

Happy Days Children Holidays

Woofability Guide Dogs

Rollo Annual Concert/ Médecins sans Frontières

The main area of activity was once again concentrated on the education of young children with regard to ecological sustainability in Peru in conjunction with ANIA.

Projects which were announced during the year, and which can be accessed in greater detail on the Foundation website were the sponsorship of the publication of Nature’s Greatest Gift and a New English Manual for the Children’s Lands project worldwide. These illustrated publications have been made accessible online on the Foundation website (Homepage and under NEWS).

Again, as reported on the website, a TV aerial has been connected to the Micro Hydro Electric Scheme in the Andes sponsored by this Foundation at Chambomontera allowing the use of TV as an educational tool in the school, which services four villages.

The Foundation participated in raising funds for a project by the Greenshoots Foundation to train local farmers in improving agricultural practices on the northern Cambodian frontier with Thailand.

The Foundation was also instrumental in raising funds to sponsor the final catalogue completing the publication of the collection at the Museo Di Capodimonte; this was the volume relating to non-Italian artists. This publication was carried out in conjunction with the Amici di Capodimonte.

In addition to the projects previously initiated in Peru, in previous years, the site at Porto Prado on the banks of the Marañon River (the main tributary to the Amazon), which is inhabited by indigenous Cucuma Indians, was expanded by an additional 4 Ha. The Children’s Land territory now totals 12 Ha or about 30 acres.

In March 2016, Patrick Matthiesen travelled to Peru to investigate progress on some of the various sites that the Foundation has sponsored since 2009. On this occasion he travelled to Lima, the Ica region and to the Iquitos region on the Amazon. In Lima he visited the Natural History Museum where the Foundation had sponsored a didactic project to teach school children from the capital, the importance of the Children’s Land concepts which are shown on a restricted scale. These are visited by about 20 000 school children a year and a guide is available at all times to explain the concept to the visitors. In view of the success of this concept it was decided with ANIA to update some of the didactic signage. There is a bamboo Maloca or garden house full of artefacts and information which is very popular with visitors and there is notable bird activity in the enclosure. A visit was made to the Favella of San Juan de Miraflores where sadly the living environment has not improved over seven years. The children’s projects in front of the shacks have survived and expanded. It was learned that Claudia, who promoted the scheme aged 11, now aged 18, did not have the funds to go to university to complete a degree in psychology. A ‘scholarship’ is being arranged over a period of four and a half year in conjunction with the Orbis Pictus Foundation. In addition, in view of the fact that six people appear to be living in one room, a grant of $1500 is being made to improve conditions so that they are more suitable for study purposes.
The visit to Santa Cruz, which is located in Ica province in the south was rewarding. This project was started in 2009-10 when the piece of land that was donated was a rubbish dump. This was cleared by the children and a TiNi Children’s Land was instituted and trees and flowers planted and a playground area created. At that time there were 200 children in the local school. The success of this project over the last seven years has drawn many more children to the immediate facility so that the school now has 700 pupils. Local town officials recognised that this is almost entirely due to the project which had the benefit of a particularly gifted supervisor or ‘Promoter’ whose success was recognised by the regional Authorities so that he is now in charge of 150 schools. On the occasion of his visit, we toured 4 of these schools together. Local corporate sponsorship has improved the play facilities and may also pay for drip irrigation. In addition, we went further south to the Paracas National Park which is a desert boarded by a sea coast line which has the highest variety of marine species of anywhere in the world. The Foundation was invited to sponsor a micro-project, but as there were only 8 to 10 children present in the hamlet and there were extraneous workers in the fishing industry visiting the site daily, who could not be controlled by the village Headman, Mr Matthiesen considered the project as unviable and has declined to support it.

Mr Matthiesen travelled to Iquitos to inspect the Children’s Land project of 2013-14 in conjunction with CRIA and the Animal Rescue Centre with particular reference to river manatee rescue and release. The present rescue site and Children’s Land is on land owned by government Fishery Research Centre and may no longer be available in two years’ time, consequently CRIA has located an alternative forest site a few kilometres away, on land owned by one of the directors uncle. This plot of 10 Ha harbours a relatively rare sand forest type known as Campinaranas which is well known for its unique biodiversity and high levels of endemism, hosting up to 2 500 species, and many unique types of birds. The plot also contains three very large ponds, at different levels, fed by a spring which might be suitable for the larger manatees awaiting release. The Foundation will fund an in-depth business plan for the development and promotion of this site as ‘Huayolandia’ both for conservation and tourism, (Huayo is the mascot and emblem of CRIA-a Muppet-like creature).

While in Iquitos, Mr Matthiesen met with two highly active young women who founded an organisation known as GATIA. Both of the founders have a background in ecological studies and not only have they worked with the ANIA Children’s Land concept, but for the last three years they have been active in developing schemes for the recycling of plastic refuse to create fashion items, jewellery, clothing and other artefacts, to a high degree of sophistication. They promote recycling and civic cleanliness on a TV-slot once a week. As he was highly impressed by this organisation’s proactive role and ingenuity, it was proposed that the foundation shall sponsor a project at Padre Cocha with GATIA during 2016-17 (see below).

Mr Matthiesen also visited by boat the project at Porto Prado where he was greeted by the entire population made up in war-paint and singing native songs. The project has developed beyond one’s best expectations; both village elders and children are fully committed and knowledgeable. Children delighted in showing each and every species of tree, and in describing their role in protecting the environment. Their requests were for solar energy to light the school house and the Maloca and to have a swing(s) for the children in the play area, and if possible to improve the provisional rustic dam across the stream which creates the children’s water-play area. The Foundation is attempting to fulfil all these requirements. Mr Matthiesen travelled by river boat to three further locations, namely El Milagro (the miracle) where GATIA hopes to promote a Children’s Land and to El Arenal (the sand land) where there is an existing Children’s Land project. On the final day, a visit was made to Nina Rumi where three large plots of land, totalling 15 Ha were promised as a Children’s Land project, but because it was over 600 m on foot to the nearest plot from the school, Mr Matthiesen considered this too far to be viable over the long term to retain the children’s interest and activity.

Finally he visited by boat Padre Cocha, a community again close to the river, which is also well-known on account of a butterfly farm and animal rescue centre for multiple species, run by Gudrun Sperrer and known as the Pilpintuwasi Amazon Animal Orphanage. Gudrun has for 30 years owned some 30 Ha and is putting a proportion of this land at the disposal of ANIA for a Children’s Land project which the Foundation may sponsor. GATIA will also propose a collaboration with the Foundation for us to sponsor teaching the locals plastic recycling and reuse.

The Children’s Land concept has now been embraced by the Peruvian Ministry of Education which has directed that a cloned project should be rolled out in every school. It is proposed that a Trustee’s meeting should be held at 7-8 Mason’s Yard, London SW1Y 6BU at 6.30 to 7 pm Wednesday the 15th of June followed by supper. RSVP. 

Patrick Matthiesen,


For an illustrated version of this report please open the PDF below