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ONG TOKI inauguró la Escuela de Música y las Artes

NGO TOKI inaugurates the School of Music and the Arts

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Joy, happiness, satisfaction, and pride. These were the emotions of April 8, 2016 on enigmatic Rapa Nui when the Rapa Nui School of Music and Arts opened its doors at last.

In attendance were artists, members of parliament, outstanding political leaders, diplomats, heads of businesses, and the local community. It was the culmination of almost two years of arduous construction work involving 400 volunteers from all corners of the world.  The building combined traditional materials with residues and it was the first self-sustainable music school in Latin America.

This initiative was born from the determination of pianist Mahani Teave and other young Rapa Nui to give young members of the Rapa Nui community opportunities so they could develop their artistic talents. The project was designed by the father of self-sustainable architecture worldwide, Michael Reynolds. From its beginnings, the construction project received generous help from Entel Chile,  Desafio Levatemos Chile, and Rapa Nui’s City Hall. “We are an artistic people and we need to have a space such as this. Now our children and adolescents won’t have to emigrate from the island to study artistic disciplines. It’s a great day for Rapa Nui,” remarked the mayor of the island, Pedro Edmunds, highlighting the importance of Toki Rapa Nui’s School of Music and the Arts.

Reynolds, who is baptized the “Garbage Warrior,” has been working on sustainable buildings for more than 40 years in such distinct areas as Malawi, Ushuaia and New York. He worked closely with Enrique Icka, the director of Toki who is a construction engineer specialized in sustainable construction.  Icka headed the construction of the school, using the Earthship Biotecture system of construction which is based on a combination of basic materials such as cement along with the reutilization of discarded materials such as old tires,  glass and plastic bottles, cardboard, aluminum cans etc.

“We used the Earthship model and adapted it to our reality here. We wanted to learn from the newest technology that exists in the world. We wanted to incorporate everything we learned into our construction. Building on Rapa Nui was a challenge, principally because of the distance and the lack of local materials. Thanks to the effort of many people it was possible,” explained Enrique Icka.

From the beginning of the construction of the Rapa Nui School of Music and the Arts in November 2014 until its inauguration, more than 400 volunteers gave the building team a hand. It was designed as an eight-petal flower and each became a classroom where children and adolescents could study music, dance, and Rapa Nui culture. The number of students has risen to 120 currently and there is a waiting list.

Preservation of the local culture has became a crusade for the Director of the School of Music and the Arts, Mahani Teave, after  she launched her  own international career guided by her teacher Ximena Cabello and prized mentor Roberto Bravo. “We gradually realized we had to do something concrete. When we view it now, it is something unexplainable. We couldn’t have done this without the help of volunteers and the island residents who opened their homes and kitchens to those who had flown in. It is the work of many people. It is a present for Rapa Nui to take advantage of. The current challenge is to keep the classes we have funded and continue to grow in disciplines and infrastructure,” said Mahani as she supervised the details of the inauguration.

According to the Head of Regulation and Corporate Affairs at Entel, Manuel Araya, collaborating on initiatives of this type is a privilege for the company. “We were happy to help NGO Toki with this project.  We are committed to sustainability and connecting all Chileans with their communities and their culture, regardless of their geographical location. Entel has been on Rapa Nui for 48 years and we feel part of it, so it is with much pride that we contribute to the preservation of the Rapa Nui culture.”

The president of the board of directors at Desafio Levantemos Chile, Cristian Goldberg, could not hide his pride for the successful completion of the mission. “More than a year ago we promised NGO Toki that we would help them with this incredible project and today the building is practically finished and we’re very proud. In these walls is the work of our volunteers who traveled to collaborate in the construction, coordinate the logistics and the help of professionals at Desafio Levantemos Chile who shared their knowledge to get this project financed. Without doubt the thing that makes us happiest is that it is principally for children and adolescents to protect and safeguard the Rapanui culture.

NGO Toki is a center of integral development which respects the culture and gives children and adolescents opportunities that were inexistent on the island. Up until the completion of its building it functioned in distinct areas of the island, giving free classes in piano, violin, cello, and ukulele to 70 children and adolescents. The inauguration has permitted Toki to add more students (120 at last count) and other disciplines .The great challenge has been financing.

Toki got help from Fundacion Mar Adentro and from GV Shipping, two great allies of the project. The NGO also received help from the Consejo de la Cultura and las Artes, Valparaiso (CNCA), Coca Cola, the Swiss Embassy in Chile, LAN Rapa Nui, Caja Los Andes, Morpho, Audiomusica, the Arte Coorporation and many people and businesses who believed it was possible to build a new reality for Rapa Nui.

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