Agreements & Main Projects

The confidence of companies and institutions has been key to the work that both the School and the Foundation have developed in these two and a half decades. Government organizations, domestic and (mostly) foreign firms, and other foundations (also mostly foreign), have trusted our vision and have supported us by funding development projects.

The way has been long. In a first stage, like many nonprofit organizations, we were looking for funding to operate. Over time, we realized that this was like “filling a bottomless pit” and, if we wanted to be sustainable we had to become social entrepreneurs, a different approach where the donor becomes a social investor. Under this perspective, most of our productive projects were born, which now constitute our financing pillars.

Currently, our project has been consolidated, which leads us to a third phase of development, where our expertise in agro-ecology and organic agriculture and education based on leadership for peace, are valued on the market and hired by companies and institutions seeking to learn from them, or to fund projects that bring all this knowledge to other groups and people who need it.

Natura Cosmetics (www.natura.cl) a Brazilian cosmetics company has a close relationship of five years with our Foundation. Much of its sales force and management teams have been trained in our Institute of Peace, either through motivational talks or workshops that aim to provide a shared view of peace-centered life and the change of heart. On the other hand, Natura has placed its trust in the educational model of the School and on it, has seen a benchmark for other educational establishments. This is how it has supported, by a system of scholarships, the Origen School of Teachers in Sustainable Education, which has trained 440 teachers from 180 schools all over the country in our teaching practices, benefitting 100,000 students and more.

Johnson and Johnson (www.jnj.com) the multinational company of self care and health products, has financed different projects for the last four years: the first was to carry out a healthy food circuit for students from various schools in the metropolitan area. Students from these (mostly primary) schools are invited free of charge, to have a field day so they can know the origin of their food and the benefits that a healthy diet provides. In this way more than 6,000 students have lived the experience in Fundación Origen. Other projects have been related to help the students to develop skills for life to prevent violence, drugs consumption and youth’s pregnancy, amongst others.

Fundación Mar Adentro (www.fundacionmaradentro.cl), from Chile, has financed our Trades School. There our students have the opportunity to learn carpentry, electricity, ceramics and other, and in this way they enhance their employment possibilities. The local community has also benefitted from the Trade School with workshops open to the interested members.

Presently, in association with the Instituto de Desarrollo Agropecuario -INDAP- from the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture (www.indap.gob.cl), we are building the Origen Market; this will be a meeting place for small local producers and the community, and there Fundación Origen will sell its agroecological products from the orchard, goat cheese and ceramics, amongst others. All the benefits will go directly to the educational projects of the foundation.

Some other projects that we are working on in this moment are:

Nursery school for the babies of the teachers and other employees from the foundation. We are remodeling a house for this purpose in our compound so that all the members of Fundación Origen that have babies can have them close to them and get the peace of mind that this can produce.

– Each year we produce and save native seeds that have not been genetically modified. When we meet with other seeds guardians, we exchange our treasures  and we reproduce them to share them with other farmers. In the whole country and in the world seed banks are being created to take care of them. We want to build a Seed Bank where we will have the proper space to clean and store the seeds properly.

Classrooms for grades 7 and 8 in the Escuela Agroecológica. Secondary school starts in Chile in I medio, when the students are 14 or 15 years old. Since most of the pupils that attend the Escuela come from very vulnerable social surroundings, it would be most convenient that they could enter the school when they are younger. This would definitely increase the possibilities for them to develop skills that would permit them to produce real changes in their lives.

5th year in the Escuela Agroecológica. The average age of the farmers in Chile is nowadays 60 years old. The chilean curricula is so charged with theoretical information, it doesn’t give space to prepare the students to enter the working world. To contribute even more to interest and engage youths with agriculture, preparing them for undertaking personal projects in this area and to develop agricultural productive practices, we would like to offer to students graduated from agricultural schools an extra year.