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How our School is weathering the pandemic

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Our School of Music suspended its on-site classes in March, but thanks to the determination of our teachers and five volunteers at the Global Leader Program, we have succeeded in assuring the continuity of studies for Toki’s young musicians. Our school hasn’t stopped teaching!

The pandemic took us all by surprise. Just one week into the school year Chile’s Central Government ordered the suspension of all schools in the country. Protecting health and lives became the priorities of the moment.

Classes, donations, and payments were suspended, forcing us to reduce our operations to a minimum and terminate or suspend contracts with teachers and NGO workers.

We have been able to maintain minimal operations thanks to the donations from some sponsors and parents, unconditional aid from Fundacion Mar Adentro, the Corporacion Cultural de Rapa Nui, and punctual donations from both Chileans and foreigners. These people continue to believe in the high impact work we are doing at NGO Toki on Rapa Nui.

 In these tough times they have been pillars and we thank them for their trust in our organization and the work we are doing.

It is imperative that musical instruments be practiced on a daily basis so one doesn’t lose agility. This is an irreplaceable and determining factor in developmental level. Mahani Teave, director of our NGO and the School of Music expresses it as follows: “The teachers that continued marching moving forward, understood that they would have to double their efforts and not allow time to become another setback. Some of our teachers arranged with parents for the continuation of practice sessions in the students’ or teachers’  homes.”

Additionally, for the second consecutive summer we had received invaluable collaboration from volunteers in the Global Leader Program who reacted immediately to the pandemic, starting up on-line classes through YouTube, Whatsapp and by direct messaging to help our students continue their studies.

Classes have continued in piano, violin and cello through our teachers Carla Fernandez, Elizabeth Sepulveda, and Valeria Prado and Toki provided instruments so the children could study from their homes.

We will probably only be able to keep our students studying their instruments this year. It’s doubtful that we will be able to participate in musical exchanges with other groups, present our work, have classes in all the areas we’d like, or offer master classes with outstanding musicians.  These things are highly prized in a school such as ours, but are not our reality.  We will continue to provide the essentials until we can return to our lovelier lives.

Mahani Teave reflects that “the students at our school are the reason for our NGO. Despite our difficulties, the constant challenges and rough times we live in, our accomplishments to date make our hearts beat ever stronger.”

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