The students of the Wekimün School are youths between 18 and 44 years old, of the Williche descent, who live or come from the territories identified as priorities to the project: Alao Island and Apiao Island in the Quinchao community, Cailín Island and the territory of Coldita in the community of Quellón. FORMAL EDUCATION
The youths at Wekimün have different levels of formal education and have had to face the consequences of geographic isolation and a lack of access to education in their territories. Of the 35 students enrolled at Wekimün in 2015, 5 came from the island of Alao, 8 from the Apiao island, 5 from Cailín and the Barra Chaiwao, and 17 from the territory of Coldita, including 2 students from the Inío sector, a territory 5-hours sailing distance south of Quellón.
From this enrollment, 5 students were aged 18-25 years old; 11, between 26 and 35; and the remaining 9, were 36 to 44 year old. The youngest student was 18 years old and came from the island CailÍn, while the oldest student was 44 years old and came from the island Alao.
In regards to the level of education, 1 student has only incomplete primary education, 12 have completed primary school, 14 youths have completed high school and 5 have dropped out before finishing the 4th year. Only 10 students have completed secondary education through regularized adult-learning programs. Only 3 students have completed technical education (2 nursing technicians and one preschool education technician), and 2 have incomplete higher education (second year of Early Childhood Education and second year of Educational Psychology).
The territories from which our students come do not have secondary schools, therefore, those who have an education above the basic 8th grade, have acquired it outside of their hometowns, mostly in the high schools of the Quellón, Chonchi or Quinchao communities, leaving their homes at an early age to undergo the difficult life of a boarding school.
The students who have not completed the basic 8th grade, by contrast, have remained on their islands or territories of origin, usually to join in the productive activities of their families or to take care of the elderly or children. In general, our students, have spent several years away from the formal education system and have lost or forgotten what they had learned. For them, Wekimün is a place of re-enchantment with the education process.
On the other hand, the students are all carriers of the traditional Williche knowledge that at Wekimün has as much relevance as the Western scientific knowledge, a fact that positively impacts their self-esteem and stimulates their interest in learning and its value in local territories. GENDER
Wekimün aims to increase women’s participation in the education process. The islands, especially the most remote and affected by the lack of access to the Big Island, continue to display marked differences in the social roles assigned to women and men, so that women on islands like Apiao, Alao, Coldita and Cailín have fewer opportunities to access education, already scarce and limited, than do men.
In this regard, Wekimün is developing an educational proposal with a focus on gender, trying to balance out this inequity in access and hopes that at least 50% of the enrollment corresponds to women. 25 women and 10 men are currently enrolled at Wekimün School. Of the 25 women attending Wekimün, 17 are mothers, which makes it more difficult for them to attend school and poses the challenge of figuring out childcare through family networks, especially for children under 6. EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME
In regards to employment, the students of Wekimün generally perform productive traditional activities, which are casual and offer no opportunities for advancement. The men work in the fields, fish and harvest seaweed, usually Luga and Pelillo, sold dry to the fishing companies.
Meanwhile, the women take care of home and family, care for the garden and assist with the harvest of seaweed at its peak in the summertime. Of the students at Wekimün, 7 perform other work: 3 are traditional educators at a school in their territories (Tuweo School, Inio School and Alao School), 1 works as an inspector at the Lyceum Quellon, 1 is a classroom assistant at the Apiao School, 1 serves as an agricultural technician in a program of Indap (PDTI) and 2 perform health-related tasks (one as a traditional therapist at the Quinchao Hospital and another as an assistant paramedic).
It is the goal of Wekimün that the students, once their studies are completed, would be able to improve their quality of life, either obtaining better jobs and thus improving their income, or acquiring skills that would enable them to undertake personal or community initiatives as promoters of local development. All the students at Wekimün fit the vulnerable student profile and most are beneficiaries of the social programs of the state.