Focus on Isabel Zúñiga, President of Fundación Mis Talentos

March 28, 2018
Communications Colunga Foundation

"In Chile today, civil society has an enormous power of social transformation"

How did you get to civil society?

I am an economist by profession, but I always dedicated myself to public policies from the State, because I thought that, through that space, I could influence positively. And I was in that when I had to live the educational exclusion in the family.

I began to study the subject and every time I got closer to the problem of educational exclusion it appeared as bigger, and at the same time more necessary to address.

The reflection I did when living it, made me think that from civil society there could be spaces to influence, in a stable way, in favor of educational inclusion. Since my training I already knew, from practice, strategies to influence public decision-making. That mixture made me form in 2011, together with more people, the project of the My Talents Foundation. In Chile today, civil society has an enormous power of social transformation, and has the capacity to handle a longer-term agenda unlike the State.

What projects are you currently working on?

Our mission is to increase the coverage and quality of inclusive education. To do that we work with three areas: access, progress and exit, so that all students can overcome the barriers that the system generates. We came from many years of inaction and, although we have made progress, we have a lot of work ahead of us.

We influence public policy because the change in the system, so that it has the scale that the country needs, involves changing public policies. So there our work is pro-positive, we complain, we say what needs to be changed, but we go with the proposal. We are in research, consulting and we have concrete proposals for this to continue advancing. We also disseminate what is inclusion because, in general, few manage what is inclusive education, and we provide services to educational communities to facilitate this change.

What challenges do you have for this year 2018?

This year we are going to create digital training because, sometimes because of the distance, we can not reach everywhere, and sometimes, the topics are too specific and we travel to attend three or four teachers and that is very expensive. We have to make the intervention viable from the financial point of view.

Also public policy issues are critical for us, this year, because a new government is being installed and we have to give continuity to the changes we have observed as positive, such as the work of the Quality Agency, for example, and it is the minute also to incorporate topics that until now have not been worked on.

How has your experience been at ColungaHUB?

It has been super positive. What I would most like to highlight are the positive vibes, it's like a whole building saying 'change is possible', and that makes you throw up. The willingness of the team to facilitate the work is very good. It is a space that has what we need, and we appreciate all the support they give us. We have formed an internal network because the possibility of connection between the organizations that we are here is very high. 

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