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Mutually Building Historical and Cultural Bridges

Historically, the Araucanía region in the South of Chile has seen a lot of conflict between people from different backgrounds — indigenous, non-indigenous, and European-descendants. The Mutual Building Project, led by Melton Fellow Cristina Mardones, was formed to bring these people together.​

The project connected two schools from the Araucanía region in Chile and one school from Jena in Germany. Children from the Chilean schools traveled to Germany and spent three weeks in the school in Jena. Students of the three schools participated in theater workshops, visits to schools, projects with innovative methodologies and different faces of the same region. In the process, both participants and organizers learned much more about themselves, each other and the magic of personal growth, together.

The three-week encounter was a deeply intensive experience for all the school children. It was an experiential process of self-knowledge through mutual learning, a formula that resulted in a common international space that promoted empowerment, empathy, openness, solidarity, mutual respect, recognition and in a broader sense, global integration.

Encouraged by these learnings, the team plans to continue working on Mutual Building, but from another perspective. They want to improve their actions and make the second iteration even better. They will extend their work to six new areas of action and create six educational bridges to provide even more opportunities for people to develop themselves. This will be carried out through their association called Agora, and is just the beginning of something bigger and long-term.

“Let’s open ourselves to the world and its opportunities, and the world will come to us. All your experiences enrich your future, and in this synergetic process your best option is to follow your most intense heartbeats and carry out the craziest and most passionate of the ideas you have. If you are a part of the Melton Foundation, you don’t have excuses. Just do it!” — Cristina Mardones