Panal: Building a Movement that Grows Beyond Borders

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Preview image for the video "Panal: Fostering Local Student Leadership".

In 2012, when Enseňa Chile participant Tomás Despouy traveled to Peru to attend a Teach For All conference, he had no idea that his experiences at there would spark a movement of participants, alumni, and students from across Latin America. At the event, Tomás met Enseňá por Argentina participant Agustina Faustin and the two discovered they were grappling with the same challenge in their classrooms: students who wanted to see changes in their schools and communities, but whose life experiences left them feeling powerless to make a difference.

When Agustina learned that Tomás had recently launched Panal (“honeycomb”), an initiative to foster his students’ leadership and support them in developing projects to positively impact their schools and communities, she was deeply inspired. Back in Argentina, she got right to work creating a similar organization for her own students called (“to lead”).

After their meeting in Peru, Tomás and Agustina stayed in touch and continued to learn from each other’s successes and challenges. Their collaboration soon inspired participants and alumni of other network partners in Latin America and Spain to launch Panal organizations in their countries.

Today, the six organizations are committed to learning and growing together. They regularly share updates and help each other problem-solve, and they gather in person when possible to further develop their sense of community. “Despite the fact that we’re in many different countries, it has been a decision to learn together,” says Tomás.

“The transformational power of this movement is to be able to work with others and not feel isolated,” explains Agustina. “When the cause is strong, it goes beyond borders.”