Testimonies

Rafael Guardans Cambó, Executive President of the Foundation of Sustained Development (FUNDESO):

“Towards the end of the 1980´ the Spanish ONG in which I was working at was searching for reliable entities -seriously managed and with a clear vision of change- to support. In that search Mary Anne Müller and her Agro-ecological School Project appeared, an initiative that –since its very conception- went much further than proposing a “simple” professional agricultural formation.

Along the years I have been able to verify, with deep satisfaction, how that seed strongly germinated, and how from its sprouts came fruits that ripened at proper time; a both dynamic and serene process in which the determination of the founder was never out of sight –that the formation of youngsters in situation of risk was not an end in itself, but a means, an opportunity to go with them in a profound process of change towards individual responsibility and autonomy in a spiritual context.

It was in that long way that Fundación Origen was born, that not only incorporated every advance that had been made for years around the Pirque Agro-ecological School, but also put the School and other initiatives in a context of admirable management sustainability, with a modern and proactive vision.

For the more than 25 years I have been working in the field of international cooperation for development only few times I have seen cases so exemplary as this one, in all related to fidelity to the foundational principles as in the search for management sustainability. With no doubt whatsoever, Mary Anne Müller has been the start point and also the vertebral column but, fortunately for her, the Foundation and the communities that are benefited by her vast work, she has been surrounded by an exceptional team that allows one to foretell a very promising future for Fundación Origen.”

Colleen J. May, INTERVINE, 1/18/10

“In the early 1990’s, a business trip brought me to Chile and finding that I had some extra time in my schedule, I followed up on an introduction of a friend and called Mary Anne Muller.   Mary Anne had just started an agro-ecological school for extremely disadvantaged children in a rural community outside Santiago and she invited me to come take a tour. Even in its very early stages I could see that there was something special happening at this school.   The children were animated, excited, engaged, and proud of what they were doing and learning. And the teachers were also. From that first day, and on every visit after, I felt the commitment and love of all the students, teachers, and administrators as they created and developed this very special school.

I became a donor to the school from that first visit, and have continued to provide support every year since. Of all the philanthropic work I do, Fundación Origin provides the most direct and measurable return on my donation. From the young mother who completes her degree with pride instead of being forced to drop out of school due to her pregnancy, to a graduation, employment, and higher education enrollment rate with which any school anywhere in the world would be pleased, it is proven to me how much a child’s, a family’s, and a nation’s future can be impacted with the right educational model.  And Fundación Origen has proven how this model, if correctly developed, can be self-sustaining.  The entrepreneurial efforts that have been developed to move the school toward self-sustainment (goat cheese, honey, a hotel and conference center, etc.) provide an exemplary model for others. I see in Fundación Origen, a way for children and for their families to exit the cycle of poverty.

I have never questioned a cent of my donations to Fundación Origen and only always wished to be able to do more. It has been my privilege to be affiliated with this school from almost the first day, and I can’t help but realize that in the success of this school, and in its replication in as many places in the world as possible, I am a part of a powerful and exciting social change movement, and for this I am thankful and honored.”

Michael Bork, INTERVINE:

“My first experience with Mary Anne Muller and her school goes back nearly twenty years.  I remember being impressed by what I heard about the school, the kids it served and the curriculum, and being moved by the difficult lives the kids would have without the school.  The biggest impact though was presented by Mary Anne’s example, of her vision, courage and the sacrifices she made for the benefit of others.

My visits to the school never fail to lift my spirits.  The kids are amazing and they remind me of the power of “one at a time.”  One life made better leads to more that are lifted.  I’m grateful for this example and am reminded again of my good fortune.

The school is a success by any measure I can apply. Kids that would otherwise languish are given an opportunity to change their lives, and most do. Impoverished families learn along with their children and gain opportunity for betterment through micro-enterprise.  I’m most amazed by the less tangible things that are taught at the school that provide the kids with a greater emotional maturity and, most important, foster and encourage the growth of their own faith, in themselves and in their better future.

One at a time turns into many lifted.  One person had a dream and the faith to make this happen, and so many are encouraged to help, and then many are lifted. I’m so grateful for Mary Anne.  I am selfishly grateful for the opportunity she has given me to have faith and so be lifted.”