By Lizi Bowen*
Throughout the month of July, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) co-hosted three events to promote integration of Venezuelan migrant students in Peru with support from the Peru Political Institute for Freedom (IPL Peru, in Spanish). These events were held as a part of PADF’s Integrando Horizontes program. Since its inception in 2020, the program has reached over 6,290 people, aiming to improve the protection and integration of migrants and vulnerable Venezuelan refugees in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.
As part of Integrando Horizontes, PADF is supporting sustainable solutions for vulnerable Venezuelan women, adolescents, and children in Peru through dialogue and collaboration with local partners. To create an inclusive space for Venezuelan migrant students, PADF Peru held a debate over two days (July 17-18) on ideas to promote good school coexistence and integration. The debate included 10 groups of 5th and 6th grade Peruvian and Venezuelan students from public schools in Lima Sur and Callao. Four pairs of finalists made it to the final round, with students from Ramiro Prialé and San Juan de Miraflores tying for first place.
Watch Day 1 of the debate:
Watch Day 2 of the debate:
Following the debate competition, on July 24, PADF and IPL Peru co-hosted a virtual STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) fair featuring student projects that also promote good school coexistence and integration through programming that transcends borders. The STEAM fair was organized with generous support from the United States government, Boeing, and the Naumann Foundation for the Andean Countries. Students from nine different schools studying STEAM methodologies presented their projects for apps that promote coexistence in their schools. Prior to the event, participants received training from STEAM and human rights experts to develop their app.
More than 70 schoolchildren from Lurín, Villa Maria del Triunfo, San Juan de Miraflores, Callao, Bellavista, and Ventanilla participated in the STEAM fair and presented their ideas. The Filántropos Company, a group of five students from the Julio Ramón Ribeyro del Callao, won the first prize with their proposal of SAC, a tool that seeks to support young people in managing their emotions in a safe and informed way.
SAC has three goals: providing information on managing emotions with tips and emergency helplines in Peru, an open forum encouraging dialogue to create a safe community for youth and adolescents, and a scheduler that helps students better manage their time. Along with SAC, the students created Delma, a virtual assistant inspired by other voice services such as Alexa and Siri. Luciana Chávez and Oralis Sánchez, members of the Filántropos Company, explained that “this tool allows users to have someone to talk about their feelings. In this case, Delma’s responses have been reviewed by a psychologist.”
The winning team remains committed to SAC and plans on continuously updating the app to include new features and better cater to its users. The team will receive expert mentorship to fully design and launch the app. While the students are currently focused on app optimization, they are eager to begin promoting the new tool to help students throughout Peru and the region.
PADF is deeply committed to supporting vulnerable Venezuelan migrants and refugees as they search for safety throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. We implement multi-faceted programs that seek to provide protection, enhance integration, and foster sustainable solutions for Venezuelan families and adolescents settling in new host communities. We also believe in giving children the skills they need for the 21st century. We spark the interest of students in science and technology and promote hands-on learning through STEAM methodologies to help build the next generation of innovative leaders.
Watch the full STEAM fair: