Wadeken Wasjibon Maria is an NGO based in Suriname, connecting science with indigenous knowledge for the purpose of enhancing the life status and health of indigenous communities within the country. Suriname is the smallest independent country in South America, yet the most ethnically rich. Together with the Suriname Indigenous Health Fund, Wadeken Wasjibon Maria performs research into health risks and how to ensure the safety of all these different communities, yet upholding their individual ancestral knowledge.
Wadeken Wasjibon Maria is led by Eric Wijgaarde, an Arawak man working for the Ministry of Public Health with a Masters in Education and Research for Sustainable Development and currently studying for a Masters in Public Health, having conducted risk assessments into mercury pollution amongst the South Surinamese Wayana indigenous and many other studies credited to his name. Eric was also a member of the Amazonian Coordination Council for Indigenous people (COICA) based in Quito (Ecuador) as part of the Amazon Alliance between 2006 and 2009, and through the collection of his experience of indigenous people he made the documentary ‘Indigenous Suriname’, which won prizes at several documentary festivals: http://eclecticreel.org/indigenous-suriname/.