Mañiuco Community Education

Mañiuco is a primary rural school in a situation of high vulnerability located in a rural area 80km away from Temuco, Chile. Today, there are 80 underprivileged young children from kindergarten up to 8th grade studying in this school (4-15 years old). All of them belong to the Mapuche ethnic group. Melton Fellows from UFRO campus decided to help bring a change in this school and the community. What started off as a half-day visit has become an ongoing project, now with visits once every two months.

In October 2011, Senior Fellows from different countries visited Mañiuco School for the first time. The students had prepared a cultural presentation with dance and music, wearing traditional attire and also offering the local food. This was the manner in which they chose to show their appreciation and thanks for the Melton Fellows’ visit. In exchange, Fellows shared about their culture with the children through games, dance, music, videos, and talks.

Fast forward - two years and many visits later. In October 2013, Melton Fellows were joined by students from the Baptist College of Temuco. Among the many dynamic activities, what stood out was the “Teddy Bear Hospital” activity led by volunteer medical students from UFRO. Through this activity they helped young children lose their fear of doctor visits.

“As Melton Fellows, most of us want to make a change in the world so it’s a better place to live. At times that sounds very idealistic, but with this kind of project, I can feel that I'm a step closer to making that change. The kids at the Mañiuco School are very vulnerable but that doesn’t stop them from having big dreams and trying to learn more every day. I think that’s something I often forget… and that’s a thing we must never stop doing, even if we have a lot of problems.”

Paula Herrera, Junior Fellow, UFRO

Since 2011, Melton Fellows from UFRO campus and local volunteers from diverse backgrounds have work with the Mañiuco School community to address the most pressing needs of the school. They help collect material and resources, organize educational field trips to Temuco, and - most importantly - they implements workshops on important issues like bullying, motivation and self-esteem, cultural expressions, health care, or learning through interaction ... and the story continues!

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