Enseňá por Argentiná participant Agustina Faustin traveled to Peru in 2012 to attend a conference of Teach For All partners in Latin America. There she met Tomás Despouy, a participant of Enseňa Chile, 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. Both recognized the enormous potential within their students, and wanted to help them become active participants and leaders in their education and in the world around them.
When Agustina learned that Tomás had recently launched an initiative to foster his students’ leadership and support them in developing projects to positively impact their schools and communities, she was compelled to start a similar organization for her own students. After their meeting in Peru, Tomás and Agustina continued to work together and learn from each other’s successes and challenges leading Panal (which means “honeycomb”) in Chile and Lider.ar (“to lead”) in Argentina. Their collaboration soon inspired participants and alumni of other network partners in Latin America and Spain to launch Panal organizations in their countries.
“When we learned about a model in Latin America where students were changing the place they studied and lived,” says David Vásques, a 2012 alumnus of Enseňa Ecuador and the CEO of Panal Ecuador, “we were inspired to go to Chile and learn more about it, and then bring it back to Ecuador.”
Today, the six organizations are committed to learning and growing together. They regularly update each other on their progress and help find solutions to each other’s challenges, and they gather in person when possible to further develop their sense of community. Learning from each other’s unique perspectives and areas of focus is how Panal “gets stronger, as a team and in each country,” says María Angélica Alzate, CEO & Co-founder of Panal Colombia and a 2013 alumna of Enseňa por Colombia.
“Despite the fact that we’re in many different countries, it has been a decision to learn together,” says Tomás. “[rather] than having a recipe or a consolidated model to share afterwards.”
“The transformational power of this movement is to be able to work with others and not feel isolated with a project,” explains Agustina. “When the cause is strong, it goes beyond borders.”