Fostering Responsible, Well-Rounded Leadership
As young leaders, you can now use your new knowledge to become agents of positive change in your communities,” said Josue Alcántara Marte while conducting a workshop for Mosqoy students to create awareness and tolerance for learning disabilities and other mental health conditions. Josue is a psychologist working as a participant of our intercultural exchange, Máximo Nivel, who agreed to share his knowledge and experience in special needs education with our students last week. In addition to learning about the characteristics, causes, and treatments for different mental health conditions, the students received an empowering message about their role in changing the way that their communities treat people with mental health conditions. When closing the workshop, Josue asked the students how their communities treated these people, and more importantly, how the students themselves treated people with disabilities. He concluded by asking about what they could do to ensure that people with disabilities receive the treatment and support that they need and deserve. The students then took the initiative in starting a brainstorming conversation about how they could, as individual leaders, bring this knowledge to their communities to improve behaviors towards people with special needs.
Last week, Mosqoy also hosted a health campaign in partnership with Sacred Valley Health, and the St. John Fischer Nursing School. The campaign was a success, as Mosqoy students received full health examinations, along with valuable information about nutrition, dental hygiene, and general health and sanitation to pass on to their communities. Each student had the opportunity to speak personally with a St. John Fischer nursing student about their health and any questions or concerns they may have had. As important as this workshop was for our students and their personal health, another important goal was to instruct them on how to pass on the information to their communities. The visiting nursing students very explicitly empowered our students to take initiative to improve health conditions and hygiene by sharing their new knowledge with their friends, family, and communities at large. As in the mental health workshop, Mosqoy students were very excited to learn more and to become agents of change.
Ultimately, Mosqoy aims to promote and participate in community driven development through the individual development of young leaders. Therefore, we strive to create responsible and well-rounded leaders who will take the initiative to lead by example towards positive and responsible empowerment in their different social circles. Throughout this process, we have seen our students gain and spread awareness and tolerance in a variety of social aspects. For instance, the influx of money and new industries due to the tourism boom has created an elitist attitude in many Sacred Valley towns that discriminates against peasants and farmers, to the point where young people will use the word campesino, or peasant, as an insult. On the contrary, our students maintain pride in their roots and travel back home every weekend to help their families by working their fields or selling traditional weaving products. Their pride in Quechua culture and traditional life styles makes them exceptional and responsible citizens who promote acceptance and support for campesinos. With the Mosqoy workshops, these young people are gaining the knowledge and skills to become truly great, inclusive leaders in their communities.