If you talk with Joaquin Leguia about his life, he will refer to the rings of growth within a tree to tell his story. Since becoming an Ashoka fellow in 2003, Joaquin’s organization, Association for Children and their Environment (ANIA) has become a tree of great stature.

“Ashoka gave me the freedom and confidence to grow,” Joaquin explains, “My organization was like a young child that needed to feel empowered.”

Over 8,000 children currently participate in ANIA's “Children’s Lands” in Peru. 1,800,000 square meters of natural areas are under their management either at their school, home, neighborhood or communal land. Today the tree of ANIA has spread its leafy arch across the globe. “Children’s Lands” has reached beyond Joaquin’s homeland of Peru and into Paraguay, Columbia, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, El Salvador, United States, Canada and across the seas to Scotland, Japan, and India. 

“Happy Birthday, Ashoka! Thank you for growing into the beautiful organization that you have become over the past thirty years!”

This story was submitted to the Ashoka 30th Birthday Card

This article was originally published on 21 November 2011

Joaquin Leguia (As told to Kathleen Franks)
Joaquin Leguia is an Ashoka Fellow from Peru since 2003

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