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Uniting a Community to Fund a Dream

December 22, 2023
Afbeelding voor Uniting a Community to Fund a Dream
Our friends at Montesser, a small educational community located in the picturesque mountains of Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia, told us their inspirational story of how they began and how they were able to bring a group of students to the Sustainable Development Games in Cozumel. With limited resources, and only a few months to prepare, their story is one of incredible passion, unique ideas and the togetherness of a whole community. It is a story we felt compelled to share…

In July of this year, we at Montesser received an extraordinary invitation; to be representatives of Colombia at the Sustainable Development Games, which would take place in the beautiful City of Cozumel, Mexico.

The news not only thrilled our entire community, but it also especially inspired our teenagers, many of whom had never had the opportunity to leave their country.

We approached this opportunity as a collective challenge, and our families moved together to make their children’s dreams come true. The young people embarked on the mission of raising funds to finance their trip, with the ambitious goal of raising 25 million Colombian pesos (approximately 5,800 euros) to cover the trip and accommodation of 8 people for 12 days.

The biggest challenge was that we had less than two months to achieve it, with the event due to take place in October, so we had lots of work to do. What followed were days of creativity, ingenuity and boundless cooperation. Our action plan included various events, from bazaars selling used items and groceries (roast, desserts, candy, drinks) to raffles and games. A memorable day was transformed into a water party, where the Montesser headquarters became a makeshift water park, bringing together children from our community and surrounding areas.

Without a doubt, the most significant event was the production and sale of lasagna, which involved young people in the entire process, from planning and purchasing to preparation and sale. Lasagna production became an educational experience in itself, ranging from practical math lessons (rule of three and equations) to business management (Excel Accounting with Costs, Expenses and Profits).

Despite the long work days of more than 15 hours a day, the collaborative spirit prevailed. With the support of more families and local businesses, the Montesser community managed to raise the money necessary to travel to and participate in the event.

In Cozumel, I saw my beloved students out of their natural habitat, like fish out of water, but with a style and grace that I didn’t even know they had. They came together with other teenagers from around the world, including The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Mexico and the United States.

It was a spectacle to see how these kids, with such particular tastes, challenges and behaviors, were more alike than their parents would like to admit. In those eight days, more love and laughter were shared than in an entire school year. After so much time in the classroom, seeing them break the barrier of shyness and mix regardless of age, gender or nationality, was like discovering a hidden treasure.

For our Montessori community, this event was like winning the world cultural exchange. We feel stronger, more united and, most importantly, more capable of achieving new goals. We, as a whole community, are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the vibrant cultural fabric of the world.

The great prize, without a doubt, was seeing our young people return with smiles big smiles open minds. This event was not only significant for its international reach, but also left a profound mark on the personal, social and cultural growth of our students.

What an unforgettable adventure!