From the outside, it may only seem like young people building a robot to participate in a competition. Beyond that, it is teamwork, kids becoming leaders, trusting in their ideas, learning and working hard, increasing their self-esteem... giving a country the opportunity to dream, to grow, believing in our neighbors and ourselves.
This project provides inspiration to the people in a place where the opportunities seem to be against them. By having the opportunity to be involved in activities that capture their attention, it motivates them to study, believing that is the way to give fruits to their actions.
This reduces the danger that they fall into drugs or alcohol, among many other risks which they are exposed to.
One opportunity can be the difference for an entire generation.
Because it is not uncommon for kids to hear people talking in their communities, trying to “steal their dreams” by making them feel that there aren't options in this country and trying to turn them to emigrate and by extension then: What is the point of studying?
Nevertheless, the people who participate in these projects transform these points of view and, even better, inspire others who identify with them to realize that they are valuable and that through hard work, discipline and determination they can reach their goals.
Their minds are transformed and we have seen that reflected in their attitudes at home, school and mainly in their towns. Thanks to their hard work, their dreams, and wishes to go further, these kids are sharing with their neighbors, what they have learned in the First Global robotics club and with Shoulder to Shoulder’s support now in an area called "La Frontera" of Intibucá, Honduras we also have a robotics league in the Lego Mindstorms level.
We began in 2018 with one team, that year we increased to four teams and now in September of 2019, the second regional competition took place, with eight teams participating. We are very happy to see kids of different ages and genders equally participate, with a passion to learn something completely new. And for 2020 we have an expansion plan so more people will join in our mission to reach excellence in education within La Frontera. We come to them with the idea of a robot, but in the end, they become inspired enough to believe in themselves and through their perseverance and dedication create a better future for their families and others.
Team members from previous years have also come back to help the new team, sharing experiences and knowledge as a way to honor and thank the change this opportunity has brought to their lives. It is astounding to see how in such a short time a shy and insecure teen with constant team practices and exposure to this environment can become someone with sufficient capacity and confidence to express their ideas and experiences to an audience, even on live TV!
It is important for all members of the communities to see youth from very humble backgrounds shine and succeed, people see these experiences, they set new goals in their lives, and are motivated to work harder for their education because it is an example where real changes can be seen – realizing that every effort has its reward. We hope one day that the level of education in this area increases greatly and is reflected by the reduced illegal migration so kids can grow in a family, without absent parents.
The First Global Challenge is not about a trip or a competition, it is about giving the opportunity to people from different parts of the world, regardless of their social or economic status to learn about robotics and have an experience of this magnitude, which for most of the participants is the first time in their lives having contact with something like that. And the best thing is that they can do it without having to leave their families because everything they need travels to them. This is having a global impact and over time the results will be multiplied in actions, young people taking control of their lives and leading a whole generation in finding solutions to questions that this globalized world asks us today.
Thanks for helping us to feed the dreams of this new generation. Together we believe we can make a difference.