Traveling the World: Week 4. Lima, Peru and Bogota, Colombia.

1 month. 30 days. 720 hours.

The flavor of Perú; Inca Kola.

Last week was a quiet one, because Peru celebrated its 195th independence celebration. Still, we talked with Paola Ceballos, Co-Founder of Zyos in Bogota, we managed to take the kids to Fab Lab’s 3D printing workshop; we met Wendy Ramos, Founder of Bola Roja and we also interviewed Hugo Diaz Diaz, Director of Peru’s National Education Board. Because we were able to spend more time with friends, we took advantage of this to ask the parents and kids the questions we have developed. These are the questions we ask kids, and some of their amazing responses…

1. What have you learned from your parents? 
2. If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?
3. What do want to improve in the world? What do you need to 
accomplish it? 
4. What makes you the happiest?

We were reflecting on our experience so far and agree we are very different people in just 4 weeks. We have gathered a lot of knowledge in the first 4 weeks of our project, and we can see some problem patterns emerging to the top. So we are developing graphic symbols for the ones we identified to be the strongest and most interesting problems to focus on.

We will take these with us to the next hub and explore these there as well. Interested to see how they will show up in other cultures with different societal codes.

On a personal note, it was a week filled with emotions as I [Hazel] hadn’t spent an independence day in Peru in over 20 years! Being able to dance, sing the anthem and see the <flag> everywhere was so moving. Also, it was a great chance to share some Peruvian history with the kids. They seem interested and continue to wonder about the gold stolen by the Spaniards…

The video story this week is the longest Alani has edited; there is a lot of underwater and playtime footage :)

And our photo album is filled with super fun moments, places we visited and the amazing people we’ve met.

Here are the learnings from this week:


Paola Ceballos — TIC developer: Binario and Travesia.

It’s serendipitous to have to use technology (skype) to talk with technologists Paola Ceballos, who from her home in Bogota shared with us her passion for technology and the impact it can have on education.

From her experience developing Business software she asked herself “why not apply it to education?”

The challenge goes beyond just having access to technology, it’s a cultural mindset — For every 20 Business Admin. graduates, there is only 1 Engineer — so Paola designed a program to make engineering more interesting for kids and teachers. “we wanted to create the tools and content to help teachers make their work more dynamic and interesting for the kids

Paola has also worked on a game called Travesia, which is a strategy game that teachers can use to teach computer science concepts to kids.

All these efforts fit within an ambitious program called Vive Digital by the Colombian government to jump forward progress by massive access to technology and the internet. One of goals is to achieve this, is to increase the number of Engineers graduates in the country. (to go from 5,000 to 26,000 within 3 years)

Since parents are the biggest influencer of career paths for their kinds, an effort is being made to instruct parents about new and different professional paths for their kids; like . (Humanities, Law and Business Admin. are the most popular choices now)

What I like the most about my conversation with Paola, is that it connets the dots really well and clearly: for the country to do better economically and compete in a world driven by technology and internet access, you need a very specific type of professional, who needs to be developed early on, at the school level, with the help and support of parents who understand the value of a engineer mind in the development of their kids.

My favorite quote from Paola was:

Tech is just a tool that kids use to learn to make things, while developing their imagination and creativity

Fab Lab

We were lucky to be invited to Fab Lab’s FabLAT Kids Digital Printing Workshop by Grandma Gypsy’s BFF Delia Barriga who is the Managing Director for Latam’s Fab Lab. Created by MIT, Fab Lab’s mission is to use technology as the enabler to what they believe is the most important tool we have as humans: Our capacity to invent, create and problem-solve. In Peru, Fab Lab is highly committed to “fabricación digital” (printing digital resources) and to using synthetic biology to improve ecological cycles in the Amazon region.

The kids had a blast and learned a lot about the process of creating a digital printed piece. Starting from the basics (building with pay-doh.)

What really impressed me about the work they are doing is that they are constantly exploring ways to take technology to the most remote places which have proven to help transform villages and improve kids’ self esteem and capabilities.

Hugo Diaz Diaz, Peru Board of Education.

This was one of the most inspirational 60 minutes we have had during our research. SOMEONE from Fundación Telefónica connected us to Hugo. He invited us to his home, so it made the interview that much more memorable.

The main focus of the conversation focused on teachers.

He shared these eye-opening facts:
There are 350K teachers in the public system and 150K in the private one. 
Their income is comparable to the one in 1980s, which is on average $419 per month. 
Teachers in Peru are trained to teach instead of to create learning spaces where children can learn to learn.
60% of teachers have a second job to earn more money which means they can’t focus as much as they need to on improving their teaching style.
Some rural areas have 1 teacher for the whole school.

In his opinion any type of improvement begins with the teachers. If they are not compensated or trained to teach in a renewed society the situation will remain the same or worsen.

Our favorite quote:

“Teachers will need to learn how to shape kids who will need to reinvent themselves constantly in an ever-changing society.”

Wendy Ramos, Founder of Bola Roja.

Maeve Thornberry introduced us to Wendy. We met at this super cool food space similar to a market, which hosts different local stores and with 1 card you can buy things from each of them. The kids loved the experience as they got a taste of having purchasing power.

The conversation with Wendy started with her sharing her journey from Clown, to TV celeb and to founder of Bola Roja, focused on training people to explore how to help improve the space around them via knowing themselves well. Inspired and in collaboration with Patch Adams, a big area of Bola Roja focuses on taking the Clown culture into hospitals and to less fortunate areas, such is the case of the Belen Project. For 10 years clowns from all over the world traveled to this remote area in the Amazon of Peru to help develop the town.

We spoke about the power of emotional intelligence and quite a lot about ethics and integrity. Wendy‘s mission is to help people know themselves so well they know what tools they can use to help their communities. Wendy’s integrity and clarity of purpose is so empowering to be exposed to, we would love to take her vision into lower education. Imagine exposing kids 
at an early age to skills (soft and hard) to feel empowered to move 
society forward!

Our favorite quote:

“Education of any type, about any thing, under any circumstance helps everybody”
The future!