I saw a class that was geared toward special needs humans, not just children. They were mostly cognitive needs, but regardless, had a really cool partnership where they partnered with occupational therapy students at a university who did activities with them and served as teaching assistants. When I was there, they colored and provided individual assistance as needed. The students were taking turns playing the drum and most of them were quite on beat. You could tell it was a highlight of their week. Especially because as in other parts of South America, students who are labeled as descapaz (literally uncapable) cannot attend a traditional school and there are no laws about discrimination of ability there so very few handicapped adults are able to work. To see them so happy during this class at least gave my heart a lot of joy.
Batuta is far more extensive starting at age 2 until 18, only stopping at that age because the Music for Reconciliation programs require that. It is far more inspired by El Sistema in the structure, though I found it interesting. There was symphony orchestra (basically a replica of EL Sistema, but mostly with paying students on a sliding scale in representative groups) and then there was everything else under Education. This included choir, music introduction (which seemed to be a theme at all three sites I visited), and the social classes I talked about earlier. So the orchestra students did not have these social classes-which furthers Geoff Baker's point in his book of the hegemony that exists of the symphony orchestra. THey were exempt from the "educational" classes,
The program was gigantic serving 32,000 a year! I commend such a major foundation 26 years old being run by a woman too. This is a theme that I haven't expounded upon, but I Have been amazed in the best way possible how easy, for lack of a better word, it is to be a woman here. No cat calls, no machismo, and a woman can be herself. Perhaps I saw a fachada (facade) but talking to many women it sounds like this is true. I got "hello" or "que bonito" in the streets in Bogota, but more because I was foreigner, than a woman. This surprised me because with Chile being "the most developed" I would have thought that would have had the least machismo, but not so, at all. IN some cases, the woman was the head of house, staying at home, taking care of the kids, but also in charge of any household decisions, traditionally a male role in the US. And in many cases, especially our generation, women were working and being respected or bosses of men! Was really empowering to see a woman in charge of such a huge organization! And until recently, due to politics, La Red was also run by a woman for four years.