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#InequalityIs: Luis Mella Gajardo on inequality and inclusion

#InequalityIs: Luis Mella Gajardo on inequality and inclusion


There’s a graph that charts income
and happiness. They grow together until a point. After that point, income goes up but happiness flatlines. That’s when we have
to begin sharing. Living in one of the world’s
most unequal countries, we realized that if we only
focused on living standards we were only measuring
material wealth. Quillota is a town with
a great project: the pursuit of happiness as the main objective
for changing society. I’m going to explain that with an example of inclusion. I told my team that I wanted to go to
the poorest and most marginalized
school in my city. I thought they were going to
ask me for computers, classrooms— big investments. I went prepared to do it
and not to fail them. They said, “We want musical
instruments so we can march in the parades
like the private school kids.” In short, we bought
those instruments and a miracle occurred. The kids behaved better. They did better in school. Parents who hardly came
to school showed up. And that school was just
named one of the most improved schools
in Chile, this decade. The kids were trying to tell
us that they wanted to be seen by Quillota. They didn’t want to be
excluded any more, only able to watch, mere spectators of an event. They wanted to be the stars. At its core, inequality is not being seen. I believe social inclusion has
to start there.

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