"The experience of being in a nice space, with cheerful faces and a motivating environment for all, has been an incentive that has no price"
We spoke with María Soledad Díaz, Executive Director of Aldea Foundation, who, inspired by their experiences and initiatives related to the increase of culture, seeks together with their organization to create an education regarding the architecture and green spaces of the city, in order to be better appreciated by citizens under an informed and constructive
How did you get to civil society?
Since I was a child I participated in activities that linked people with causes related to poverty. In the university I promoted many initiatives, among them, the creation of a literary café in my town (San Javier de Loncomilla), since it considered that we did not have access to culture. I also participated in the realization of an education program in the women's prison, called "La Libertad de Aprender", where I taught history. All that volunteering resulted in my first formal job being in The ceiling, in the area of regions. This experience gave me a broad perspective of working with communities and camp leaders. They taught me that you can do justice with your own hands when there is synergy, and we join with more people and institutions, public and private. I am of the idea that you always have to add more than subtract.
Another work experience that marked me was the passage through the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage, where I saw the power of communities defending their territories and ancestral practices, and also, the need for public officials to be aligned with These aspirations and not transitory political ideas, which illuminated me to think that we could collaborate a lot from a foundation.
Despite deeply believing in the role of the State, I am aware that each one of us is an agent of social change, and that we need more civil society to collaborate in improving the environments we are building, in the enhancement of heritage and in demanding the right to the city, since it is not yet seen as a priority and there is always a lack of resources.
What is the organization currently working on?
In Aldea Foundation We work to democratize architecture, designing and constructing in a participative way public spaces and buildings in the Metropolitan Region, O'Higgins and Atacama. For that, we generate alliances to expand the training workshops in citizenship that allow us to observe the environment critically, that is, promoting people's capacities to think in an informed way about the spaces we inhabit, and activate the right to have a voice over its design and construction.
Specifically, what takes away the dream today is the OH Festival! Stgo (Open House Santiago) a free event, of diffusion of the city as a built environment, that is carried out internationally more than 30 years ago and that we brought to Chile for the first time in 2017. We have focused on celebrating architecture, engineering and green spaces of contemporary Santiago to represent the city we are building in the 21st century, and ask ourselves who is building it, considering that people and communities have a fundamental role in defining how we want to live.
What is your biggest challenge?
To achieve that what we are passionate about has a structure and identity, and to collaborate in opening the possibilities so that citizens have the capacity to look critically at the environments and, from this, transform them.
Also, I hope that as a team we will develop the mission of Aldea, which we are still building collectively. That we are able to listen to the concerns of the people we are working with and be a significant contribution in their lives. And that each member of Aldea is able to get the best version of himself.
How has your experience been at ColungaHUB?
The best. We believe that environments educate and can help us to be happier. The experience of being in a nice space, with cheerful faces and a motivating environment for all, has been an incentive that has no price. Without an office like the one we have today, we could not be where we are, or do what we do.
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