Pehuenche communities of Alto Biobío and Enel Generación celebrate the laying of the first stone for the construction of a new school in Quepuca Ralco

Published on Wednesday, 22 June 2022

  • With this milestone, construction commences on the new educational facility in which girls and boys from the Quepuca Ralco sector can continue their primary education in an establishment where interculturality stands out in its programmatic and architectural design.
  • The new school will be built on the Ralco-Guayali road, specifically at kilometer 33 of Route 689, a location defined between communities, the Municipality of Alto Biobío, and Enel Generación Chile.


Alto Biobío, June 22, 2022 – The celebration of this important milestone marked the construction of the new Quepuca Ralco school. This educational infrastructure will collaborate with the education of children from local communities. Through dialogue and collaborative work, the educational facility was co-designed by the communities themselves, local authorities, and the company.

In attendance was Chile’s First Lady, Irina Karamanos, who was invited by the communities to take part in the sacred We Tripantu prayer, held before the foundation stone-laying ceremony. The latter was performed by Municipality of Alto Biobío's Mayor, Nivaldo Piñaleo, representatives of the Quepuca Ralco, El Avellano, Kepuka Ralko 2, El Barco, and Guayalí communities, the Undersecretary of Education, Nicolás Cataldo, Enel’s Sustainability Manager, Antonella Pellegrini, and the General Manager of Enel Generación Chile, James Lee Stancampiano.

"This has been developed jointly over many years of dialogue and continuous work groups and marks a historical and highly relevant milestone. This school will improve families' lives, particularly the children whose access to education is somewhat complicated today in terms of space and infrastructure.Thanks to this project, kids will finally have a school of more than 1,500 m², designed jointly with them, with an iconic, circular design, which represents something of great importance in Mapuche-Pehuenche culture," explained James Lee Stancampiano, General Manager of Enel Generación Chile.

“The school offers an infrastructure that will allow generations to look to the future because they will grow up with a decent school in their territory. This gives us the confidence that we are bridging the gaps to quality education access thanks to such projects. This project will allow students from the Alto Biobío communities enjoy their educational process in a place designed observing the Pehuenche people's identity," said Antonella Pellegrini, Sustainability Manager at Enel.

The new school incorporates aspects of Mapuche and Pehuenche cultural importance, both in its architecture and educational program. The new infrastructure will hold 120 students, with a total surface area of 1,511 m2, complete with two pre-school classrooms, six primary education classrooms, four spaces for workshops, a library, a boarding school, a kitchen, and a dining room.

"We are delighted about this space and this event. It’s a dream come true to project our education to Pehuenche boys and girls from Alto Biobío and, above all, right here in our community. I believe that this moment symbolizes mutual respect with the company because today we find ourselves in a dialogue situation that allows both sides to reciprocate a kind of collaboration. This school symbolizes everything about that dialogue process," argued Pascual Levi Curriao, Lonco Chief of the Kepuka Ralko 2 community.

"As the Ministry of Education, it is essential for us to be present since today marks the beginning of a process with the laying of the first stone of the school, a reparation process that the community has reached through dialogue with Enel. Therefore the State must be present, as part of this process together with the Municipality, to develop a solid and suitable educational project, elaborated by the communities, thinking into the future," said Nicolás Cataldo, Undersecretary of Education.

Additionally, it is essential to mention that this new educational space's collaborative and co-creation work includes implementing a boarding school with an area of 350 m². The space consists of six bedrooms for students and two for teachers, a study area and a 840 m2 multipurpose gym, capable of hosting a range of activities that the communities wish to develop.