Feb 11, 2020

Juan leaves all behind and migrates to Brazil

Juan learning how to code at the POETA Center
Juan learning how to code at the POETA Center

Dear friends,

Thank you for supporting us throughout 2019. We are glad to share that in 2019 we were able to reach 50 Venezuelan migrants through our POETA Center across the region. In this opportunity, we want to share the story of Juan, a young and resilient participant that, despite facing several difficulties in Venezuela, is building a bright future for himself and his brother in Brazil.

Juan is a 27-year-old originally from Maturin, Venezuela, one of the most violent cities in the world, according to the CCSPJC (Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal). In Venezuela, Juan was doing a bachelor's degree in Accounting and Architecture in Caracas, where he lived with his mother and worked for his family’s accounting firm. As sociopolitical unrest in Venezuela and the deadly clashes between civilians and authorities rose, Juan had to witness how several of his friends were incarcerated and/or executed for political motives. Juan’s family decided to migrate to neighboring countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Mexico. Leaving all behind, Juan migrated in May 2019 to Roraima, Brazil and stayed at a refugee shelter.

Looking for job opportunities, Juan moved to Brasilia and started to craft clay sculptures. “Art has always been a part of my life. That’s why I choose to study Architecture” he shares. In Brasilia, encouraged by a friend, he joined the POETA Center through OSJC. After taking computer science and digital skills training at the Center, Juan learned how to code and program Webpages. Throughout his studies at the POETA Center, he demonstrated resilience and perseverance as he had to make a long commute (50km) to the Center every day. Further, despite being away from his family and having left his life in Venezuela, thanks to the POETA Center’s support, Juan was able to raise his spirit and widen his horizons regarding his new life in Brazil.

Thanks to his coding skills and the Center’s guidance, Juan is setting up a Webpage to showcase and sell his sculptures and paintings. In the future, Juan expects to become fluent in Portuguese as he is taking lessons at the University of Brasilia along with other migrants and refugees. He wants to become financially independent and be able to bring his brother from the refugee camp in Roraima. He also wishes to re-start his studies in Architecture and hopefully, become a successful Architect.

The Hour of the Code
The Hour of the Code
Feb 7, 2020

Celebrating 15 years of Partnership

Commemorative book for 15 years of partnership
Commemorative book for 15 years of partnership

Dear friends,

Thank you for supporting us throughout 2019. We are glad to share that in commemoration of the 15 years of partnership with Microsoft in favor of a region with greater access to the necessary skills and technology, we launched the 15 Stories for 15 Years of Partnership book. 

This publication aims to present some inspiring stories of POETA participants and how teachers, youth, women, and people with disabilities use technology to innovate, create and strengthen their communities.  We are grateful to our donors in GlobalGiving who make these success stories possible.

The book also showcases the impact stories of three women from Itaborai, Maracanau, and Sobradinho in Brazil. To read their stories, please click the following link: https://www.trustfortheamericas.org/media/press-room/kits/versions/en/15-A%C3%91OS-POETA-FINAL_liSPFYi.pdf

Further, we would like to give a shoutout to some talented youth with disabilities from the POETA Program in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Argentina.

An app to help people with hearing disabilities

Edel --- Santa Catarina, Mexico

Edel is a 19-year-old student from Santa Catarina, Mexico. Edel, who has a hearing disability. He joined POETA YouthSpark at the UTSC (Universidad Tecnológica Santa Catarina) Center where he took coding, app development, innovation, and entrepreneurship courses. Inspired by his courses and interested in innovating through technology, Edel and his classmates were able to develop an App called Infotrans, which helps people, including those with hearing disabilities, track the status of their flights.

Edel and his team competed internationally, among 600 participants, at the JA Global Youth Forum. Here, Infotrans won third place. Throughout the Forum, Edel was able to attend conferences with world-class keynote speakers and participate in alumni panels and entrepreneurship workshops.

Edel is thankful to Microsoft, The Trust and UTSC for their continuous in his journey to develop key computer science skills as he shares he is committed to continue learning to both innovate and help empower others with disabilities.

 

Technology allows Marbellys to see the world

Marbellys ---- San Jose, Costa Rica

Marbellys is a young woman from San José, Costa Rica who has a visual disability. Marbellys works at PANACI (Patronato Nacional de Ciegos) and has always been interested in learning how adapted technologies work. Looking to becoming more independent, Marbellys joined the POETA Center at PANACI where, thanks to Microsoft and The Trust, she received digital skills training through the Window-Eyes program.

This program allows Marbellys to use a computer through screen readers and voice recognition. Marbellys comments: "Thanks to Window-Eyes, many doors have been opened; it has opened up the world I had always wanted to explore and it has allowed me to feel useful in my community." In addition to learning digital skills, Marbellys increased her self-esteem and self-confidence, allowing her to feel fulfilled as she is now able to support her family.

 

Briggitte changes her life through POETA YouthSpark

Briggitte ---  Lima, Peru

Before joining POETA YouthSpark, Briggitte was a 22-year-old shy woman with limited mobility due to a type of Spina Bifida. Because of economic constraints, Briggitte dropped her undergrad studies to help her mother at home.

After hearing about POETA YouthSpark at a health fair, Briggitte joined the project at the Fundades Center in Lima. After three months of training, Briggitte developed key technical and digital skills which allowed her to secure a job at Konecta, where she became responsible for managing the company’s large CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

Briggitte’s experience at the POETA YouthSpark Center and the relationships she developed here allowed her to increase her self-esteem and become more independent. Briggitte is grateful to Microsoft, The Trust, and Fundades for helping her develop key skills that have allowed her to shape her future.

 

Technology opens up a world of opportunities for Magdalena

Magdalena ----  La Plata, Argentina

Magdalena, 25 years-old, lives with her 9-year-old son from La Plata, Argentina and is a massage therapist. Magdalena, who has a visual disability, joined POETA YouthSpark through the CILSA Center. After her Digital Skills training at the Center, Magdalena acquired employability skills empowered through technology. She learned how to operate Microsoft Office package, how to develop her CV, and how to create blogs and websites. Thanks to these skills, Magdalena was able to strengthen her business.

With support from CILSA, Magdalena secured an internship at the Universidad del Litoral. Inspired by her own learning process, Magdalena decided to become a professor and is now studying to become a Technology Professor.

Edel - POETA Mexico participant
Edel - POETA Mexico participant
Marbellys - POETA Costa Rica beneficiary
Marbellys - POETA Costa Rica beneficiary
Briggitte - POETA Peru participant
Briggitte - POETA Peru participant
Magdalena - POETA Argentina participant
Magdalena - POETA Argentina participant

Links:

Nov 20, 2019

Migrating for a better life in Colombia

Maria Jose at her beauty salon
Maria Jose at her beauty salon

Hello friends,

We are glad to share that in the past few months we have provided digital and life skills training to 30 Venezuelan refugees at our POETA Centers. The POETA (Partnership for Economic Opportunities in the Americas) Centers are safe and free spaces equipped with computers where participants can find personalized mentorship, guidance and employability, digital and life skills training and workshops.

The POETA Centers receives participants from vulnerable backgrounds: women, at-risk youth, people with disabilities and migrants. At the POETA center, migrants and/or refugees receive personalized guidance on where to find service providers and employability training empowered through technology. Furthermore, our highly experienced POETA facilitators help and guide participants on how to access economic and educational opportunities. These opportunities correspond to obtaining a job or an internship, starting or strengthening a business, initiating or continuing their studies.

Meet María Jose, she is a 29-year-old Venezuelan woman who migrated to the city of Monteria, Colombia. Like millions of displaced Venezuelans, Maria Jose migrated to Colombia with her mother, grandmother, two brothers and her two sons (1 and 4 years old) with the hope of building a better life.

In Venezuela, Maria Jose grew up learning all about beauty services such as hair and color styling, make-up and nail design. Once in Colombia, she started by offering her services as a stylist door by door until she stumbled upon Ana Joaquina, the Coordinator of UPB’s Center, who invited her to join POETA YouthSpark.

“Once I knew that by learning digital and social media skills I could increase the number of costumers and provide more food to my family, I immediately decided to join the Center[…]” Maria Jose shares.

Immediately standing out as a motivated participant, Maria Jose quickly finished all the courses on Digital Literacy and started taking Computer Science courses. She later started providing complementary courses on Hair and Make-up Styling to her peers as a volunteer at the Center.

Thanks to the help of UPB’s Social Business Incubator, Maria Jose was able to start a business, Peinarte Spa y Barberia beauty salon, alongside her POETA YouthSpark’s peers. She designed the salon’s business model and marketing strategy using Microsoft Office’s platforms such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Likewise, she programmed the salon’s webpage and created social media profiles for it.

Maria Jose shares that besides fulfilling her long-life dream of being an entrepreneur, she is proud to able to contribute to her receiving community. She now feels part of Colombia as an active member of the Monteria community.

In the future, Maria Jose envisions helping other Venezuelan refugees living in Colombia. Her motto is “If I can do it, you can do it as well”. She shares she would appreciate help from everyone by following her salon’s social media pages at @peinartespa.

Students at the POETA Center
Students at the POETA Center
Life skills training
Life skills training
Digital skills training
Digital skills training
POETA Center
POETA Center
 
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