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
Nov 18, 2019

Cristina uses Scratch to motivate her students

Cristina at her training
Cristina at her training

Dear friends,

We are glad to share that we incorporated a new element of training of trainers in digital and computer science skills. This training strengthens teachers’ skills and provided them with strategies to promote computer science tools in their teachings, regardless of the subject at hand. Facilitators are motivated and better prepared to implement their newly acquired knowledge with participants.

We wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your generosity and support in helping Brazilian youth with disabilities, and now, facilitators in vulnerable communities.

Meet Cristina, she is a 37-year-old teacher from the city of Maracanaú. She is a teacher specialized in educational computing and, in her free time, she loves researching new technologies to introduce to her students.

She joined POETA at the IDEAR Center in Maracanau to acquire new digital skills with the hopes of improving the quality of her teachings. At the Center, Cristina stood out as a friendly and passionate student who was always eager to share her learnings with both her peers and students. She learned how to use key platforms such as Skype, Microsoft Sway and other useful tools of Office 365.

Cristina describes all the training offered through POETA  as enriching and greatly appreciates the opportunity to learn at the Center. Thanks to her new skills, Cristina has been able to improve a project of hers where children sing and play through a computer program that works with a programming language called Scratch. Cristina’s project has already received several awards, including the Teachers' Award of the State of Brazil.

Working with technology brought motivation and personal satisfaction to Cristina. As she continues working on her project, Cristina prepared a presentation and a musical demonstration which she will present at IDEAR’s annual event this August. In the future, Cristina wants to continue learning about programming and ICT so that she can share further knowledge with her students.

Other teachers at their digital skills training
Other teachers at their digital skills training
POETA Center in Maracanau
POETA Center in Maracanau
Students at the POETA Center
Students at the POETA Center
 
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