Makushis launch organic face cleanser ‘Rupununi Essence’
Georgetown, GINA, May 10, 2016
Merged with state-of-the-art science to produce naturally healthy and modern skin care, Rupununi Essence is a facial cleanser enriched with oil produced from crabwood, a treasure of the forest.
The product was created through a partnership with the South, North Rupununi indigenous producers, the Ministries of Social Cohesion and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST). The Rupununi Essence brand was officially launched last evening at the Sophia Exhibition Centre.
Crab wood oil has been used for over 7000 years by the Indigenous people, for joint pains, swellings, to heal scars and even as a sun burn treatment. This oil is now transformed into a facial cleanser, which, when used can result in soft, smooth, and glowing skin, according to the product description.
This 100 percent organic skin cleanser is just one of the many initiatives being undertaken by the North Rupununi producers, as they strive to add value to their products.
Coordinator, Makushi Research Unit (MRU), Paulette Allicock explained that the Rupununi producers, consisting of persons from the MRU, which includes the medicine from Trees Group, the North Rupununi District Development Board and the Makushi peoples.
She explained that over the past two decades, the MRU has been engaged in much research work on social, economic, and ecological aspects of life in the North Rupununi.This project, Allicock said, was one of great significance to the group, who gathered information from their ancestors, and passed it on to younger women. These are now producing medicine from trees, as well as solid and liquid soap from crab oil.
“We Makushi researchers and medicine producers are now recognised nationally, due to our own hard work and combined efforts,” Allicock emphasised. The group received the Medal of Service from President David Granger on February 23 (Republic day) in recognition of their contributions to indigenous knowledge, language and culture.
Apart from the Rupununi Essence project, the MRU has produced several posters, booklets in the Makushi language, and even produced a short documentary titled “Our Language and Culture in the North Rupununi.”
The Rupununi Essence project gives the indigenous peoples the opportunity to promote renewable exploration and preservation of Guyana’s forest and biodiversity. It will directly benefit hinterland communities, from the crab wood oil producers, to the soap makers, making the environmentally sustainable extraction of the oil more economically viable and provides potential for further research and development of ancient medicinal knowledge into modern natural skin care.
Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, , Amna Ally, Business, Dominic Gaskin and Citizenship, Winston Felix, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, Professor Suresh Narine, Director IAST, Dr. Patrick Chesney of the United Nations Development Programme and representatives from various Indigenous organisations were present at the launch.
Dr. Narine explained that as the world faces issues of climate change and poverty, the knowledge that the Indigenous peoples have, offer smart solutions to these problems.
“As we approach this nexus of terrible challenges, I firmly believe that the knowledge that our indigenous peoples have, offers elegant solutions to what we must do as a planet, certainly their approach to conservation is what many of us on the coastland need to not only learn, but inculcate,” Professor Narine pointed out.
Minister Allicock congratulated all those who were involved in the realisation of this project, and hoped that other groups will follow with similar ventures.
“You have demonstrated the will to stay close to your culture, and heritage. You have therefore helped with the preservation, growth and development of your culture, customs and practices…This is very important and this is the only to allow all the living things to survive within the ecosystem, “Minister Allicock said.
According to Minister Ally, this event was of great significance not only to the Makushi people, but indigenous peoples across the country; because it showcased the novel and innovative mechanisms that can be employed to produce products such as the Rupununi Essence Brand.
This project was conceptualised following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministries of Social Cohesion, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and IAST, aimed at alleviating poverty, and promoting community-based enterprise and cohesion.
The liquid and bar cleanser is a makeup and acne remover. It will not only benefit the skin, but is an authentic Indigenous people’s product. This Essence skincare product will soon be available at supermarkets countrywide at just $2000.