My name is Beatriz, I am a social change-maker from Peru. In 2003, thanks to the Development Marketplace, a group of enthusiastic, passionate young people in Lima received funds to start the first Cybercafé for the blind in Peru. During the first year, more than 250 visually impaired were trained in word processing and E-Mail.
In 2004, the World Bank invited us to Washington, to exchange lessons and experiences among other Latin American projects. Certainly, this opportunity was extremely beneficial to our project. Now, thanks to private sponsorship, our Cybercafé has become ATECNODIS, an NGO that promotes access to information and technology for the visually impaired.
Why our project? Every day, disabled people face great difficulties to access digital information and entertainment. Things that are common in your life, such as chat in Messenger or sharing photos on Facebook, are unachievable for thousands of blind people in Peru. Thanks to our pioneering Cybercafé, these dreams came true in Lima, and now, people in the capital have some the opportunity to participate as well.
But what about people in outlying provinces or rural areas? This is the gap I want to bridge by launching the first mobile training center called "Edubus: Education on Wheels." The project seeks to empower those who cannot travel to a special training center.
Since I lost my sight when I was a child, Braille was the main tool to use for my education. In 2001, I received a scholarship from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to pursue studies in computer programs for the blind, and since then, my life was completely changed.
My passion is to travel, to explore different worlds, countries, situations. I love challenges, and I know how important is to be trained in mobility and the use of technology to go steps beyond what could have ever been imagined. At present, I am one of the 17 participants at the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE), in Kerala, India. IISE is a factory of dreams that promotes social change through innovation. I am experiencing a unique opportunity to interact with people from different countries, share inspiring stories and help underprivileged children.
Here in India I go frequently through rural areas, walk along narrow roads and interact with local citizens in Malayalam, the second most difficult language in India. And in April, I traveled alone three days to Delhi by train, with the purpose of visiting the Taj Mahal as well as other centers for the blind. Visiting world famous monuments, touching camels and snakes was amazing!
Now, I am ready to start my adventures in the Andes. Can you imagine how exciting it will be to travel in my Edubus, crossing rivers, and climbing hills to reach my beneficiaries? There, in the middle of the nature, I can download my favorite songs or read an audio book. Looking back through my life, I can say from experience that nothing is impossible, only the sky is the limit!