The GEMBA Legacy platform is not only about fundraising, but also about engaging with projects that have social impact - as a group and as a part of our individual professional development as global executives. To that end, a group of 13 GEMBA alumni and current students gathered in Bogotá, Colombia last week for the first ever GEMBA Legacy field visit. Among the group were members from the GEMBA 5, GEMBA 7 and GEMBA 8 cohorts.
Our visit started at Fe y Alegría (FyA) Colombia's headquarters in downtown Bogotá, where we were welcomed by National Director, Victor Murillo. After a short presentation on FyA Colombia's strategic plan for the next five years, we set off to tour two childcare centers that will benefit from the GEMBA Legacy. The first center we visited was called “Copito de Nieve”, located on the far south-side of the city in the Juan José Rondon neighborhood in Usme (Bogotá). We were instantly amazed not only by the reality of the area but also by the quality of the learning space that Fe y Alegría had created for the 145 one-to five-year-old children who attend Copito de Nieve in said reality. During our visit we had the chance to visit some of the classrooms while teachers explained their pedagogical methodologies based on games and role-playing. To finish our visit, the kids prepared an impressive welcoming dance, complete with banners and gifts prepared in English specifically for the GEMBA group.
The second childcare center we visited was called "Palermo Sur", in the Ciudad Bolivar district of Bogotá. Palermo Sur is FyA Colombia's biggest kindergarten with more than 300 kids. In addition to visiting the childcare center, we also had the chance to tour the community center as well as the primary and secondary schools that Fe y Alegría runs on the same educational campus. The time we shared with the children and teachers was an extraordinary moment of shared humanity that strengthened our desire to engage with and commit to such an inspiring educational project.
The GEMBA Legacy project is dedicated to improving the quality of the education in these and 20 other childcare centers in vulnerable areas around Colombia. Our aim is to build playgrounds within these safe and stable spaces, which themselves are located in contexts of extreme vulnerability. These playgrounds will be installed during the 2015/16 academic year , impacting the educational environment for 4,179 kids. The fundraising target is $100,000 USD, and we are already 1/4 of the way there...