Supporting education and underprivileged girls in Venezuela

As of Oct 18, 2021: On August 26, the world celebrates a cause close to Insight Timer – Women's Equality Day. It's a topic that hits close to home. Insight Timer has decided to donate US$20,000 to three causes close to our employees' hearts. Here we share an update from a rural Venezuelan town called Pagüey.
Insight Timer is the top free meditation app on iOS and Android.
Insight Timer is the top free meditation app on iOS and Android.

Once the fastest-growing country in Latin America, Venezuela has suffered deeply from a political, economic, and social downturn over the last two decades. Now, its refugee crisis is the largest ever recorded in America. This latest crisis has negatively impacted even the smallest rural towns, where local talent abandoned already fragile and vulnerable communities.

Like so many of our staff, Veronica, Head of Publishing, works remotely. While her life in Sydney is worlds apart from her hometown in Venezuela, she stays virtually close to support education and underprivileged girls.

A collaboration for impact

Supporting education and underprivileged girls isn’t a one-person team. It needs a village – literally – to do their bit to help uplift others. We have three important players working together to help shift the tides of poverty and education for girls in Venezuela.

  • The community of Pagüey
  • The Amblema Foundation
  • Insight Timer

Pagüey is a small village located on the western side of Venezuela whose primary source of living is the Pagüey river. The river has been drying up due to deforestation and pollution in its northern part. This, together with the country’s economic crisis, has resulted in higher levels of poverty and migration. While 40% of its 1,227 residents are children, many teachers have been forced to look for opportunities outside the village, leaving hundreds of children without access to proper education.

Children, especially girls, are roaming the streets, exposed to crime, early pregnancy, and abandonment. The people from Pagüey desperately need help in many areas, but most importantly, they want to give their children the opportunity to have a brighter future.

The AmbLeMa Foundation was founded in 2012 in a rural school in San Felipe, Venezuela. AmbLeMa stands for Environment, Literacy and Mathematics. The foundation created as a socio-educational tool seeking to achieve educational excellence. It provides support by preparing teachers to drive education for schools in vulnerable, low economic areas or precarious situations.

Currently, AmbLeMa reaches 47 schools, providing direct support to more than 800 teachers and 8,000 children. The program begins with motivation, leadership skills, and team workshops aimed at teachers. The objectives of AmbLeMa are simple: children who have better literacy can better master essential math tools and reasoning and develop an environmental impact project that benefits their community.

Thanks to their sponsors, AmbLeMa has been allowed to accomplish ambitious dreams and goals by positively impacting children’s education in each of these vulnerable communities. The program has been internationally recognized and was selected among the hundred most innovative educational projects globally by the Finnish organization hundrED.

The AmbLeMa Foundation also received the Noús Prize from the Foundation for the Integration and Development of Latin America (Fidal) as one of the best educational projects in Latin America in 2017. This award symbolizes the will, effort, and innovation each teacher makes daily to provide knowledge to Latin American schoolchildren.

With more than half of the Insight Timer team made up of women, women’s equality is close to our heart.  We want positively impact the children from Pagüey by contributing in a tangible way. We decided to support the implementation of The AmbLeMa educational tool in the local school “Miguel Tobías Quiñones.”

Where are we at now?

At the beginning of October, the team from AmbLeMa, led by Co-Founder and vice-president Tomás Linares arrived in El Pagüey for the first time. 

Limitations? Difficulties? Adversities? Many, but above all, we have a team full of willpower and desire to learn; the AmbLeMa Foundation can undoubtedly be a factor to make lasting change in this community.

Upon arrival, on the shore of the Pagüey River, they found themselves in a small village of the same name, welcomed by boys, girls, and young women with great joy and enthusiasm, in anticipation of the arrival of the AmbLeMa Foundation. “Reaching this school means bringing an opportunity for change and improvement,” says AmbLeMa co-founder Tomás Linares, “first for the school’s faculty (90% women). and, of course, for the children of this community.”

Miguel Tobías Quiñónez school in the village of El Pagüey

The team organized the initial workshop with the teacher’s team. They learnt the strategies and plans for the application of this socio-educational tool during the school year that just started.

“I am convinced that the only way to transform a community, a society, a country is with education. Educating with quality. Which will be possible if we support teachers to pursue high standards of educational excellence”, says Tomás Linares.

“In order to be able to implement all the innovative and creative strategies and proposals in the school, we count with the financial support of very generous individuals and organizations – whom we call Padrinos (godparents or sponsors)”, Linares continues. “Insight Timer has turned into this wonderful godparent who arrived in Pagüey to guide and encourage the teachers of this community.”

Pagüey + Insight Timer + AmbLeMa = HQS (Has Que Suceda: Make It Happen). This is only the start of a wonderful collaboration between people willing to make an impact in the lives of hundreds of the most vulnerable children on the planet. In a direct letter to us Tomás Linares sent these words:

“You, from the physical distance, but with the closeness of affection and generosity; you are a ray of light in the darkness, a balm of hope in the face of so many limitations and obstacles. We will do everything in our power to honor the support you offer us. To all the Insight Timer team: thank you, thank you a thousand thanks, thank you a million thanks.”

We’ll share more progress as we go and are looking forward to seeing the happy faces of those children and teachers when the school is up and running!

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