Message from the Executive Director
Thank you for visiting us! This website will help you to connect with our history, our current organization, and our overarching vision. In 1970, philanthropist James Ward Mundell gave life to a Chilean non-profit organization that aimed to develop the capacities of Mapuche farmers in rural Chile. As our relationship with these families evolved, we were able to gain insight into the needs of the Mapuche and rural community, and especially into the world of the Mapuche woman.
Our work with Mapuche women began in Araucanía, and has now expanded to include parts of the Biobío region. As an institution we have accepted a grand responsibility: to support the women from these areas that have decided to walk with us down a road of constant learning, as we are all conscious of the importance of keeping alive the traditions and values of an indigenous and ancient culture.
In 2008 we launched a store in the Regional Museum of Araucanía that has allowed us to collaborate with other experienced artisans in the region, enabling us to continue to expand our fair trade efforts through providing an alternative market.
As testimony to our fair practices, we have been certified as a Fair Trade Organization, accredited at an international level by the WFTO – World Fair Trade Organization. In Chile, there are only five accredited members, and we are the only one that works with traditional indigenous arts, placing us in a role of increased responsibility and challenge. This motivates us every day.
My experience of working with the organization has permitted me to prove time and time again that capacity building is fundamental in rural communities and that the success of our labor is not limited to a single institutional goal, but rather includes a collaboration of working achievements. Therefore, it is an honor to have the opportunity to lead a team of professionals and volunteers that are committed to this work.
María Susana Ortiz Geoffroy
Fundación Chol-Chol James Ward Mundell, para el Desarrollo Humano