Saturday, July 16, 2011

Aguablanca Tribute Video (unedited version)

This is the original uncut tribute video for the children in Aguablanca (© Joni AlWindi 2007-2011). The final cut is available at Aguablanca 2007 Tribute Video.


By: Joni AlWindi and Patrik Åkerman

Now, at my 7th return from Colombia in 7 years, with everything regarding my presence in the country suddenly on-hold, a rush of emotions go through me as I watch this video again. I'm going through some old files and preparing to start full-time work back "home", but this project towards the UnitedWinds Foundation will be back, in one form or another, although it should be regarded a failure not to have built up the foundation by now (with or without financial crisis and with or without PhD scholarships offered too late).

Everything has its time and my time to stay in Colombia is not now. Whatever happens with this initiative during my being in Sweden remains to be seen. I can only say what I believe to be true: I'll be back!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mega School "New Heartbeat" - A Reality

Finally a reality, for better or worse, the first mega school in Cali has been inaugurated (written more about here). With a presidential visit congratulating the project, and even promising his full support for any following projects of this sort, the expectations are enormous.

This is indeed one of the most exciting educational initiatives in Cali's history.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spiridon - Virtual and Real Mix of Academics and Sports

Creative and alternative initiatives to generate learning and development are fantastic to witness. This month, children between 8 and 16 are invited to take part in an innovative event that unites technology, academics and sports. This event starts off in a digital computer game simulating arace of 1.75 km along the Cali River that also has as purpose to promote sports and more integration of the families.

Along the race, quastions on general culture that require external help are presented. The first 2500 children in each category classify for the real race, taking place on May 29, and the 10 first places will my awared with a price.

In Cali, as in Colombia in general, the early childhood ages need special attention in education provision, and sectors with special needs were specifically reached out to for this Spiridon challenge.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shakira Inaugurates Construction of New School

On Monday April 11, Shakira inaugurated the construction of a new school in Colombia together with the philanthropist Howard Buffet. The school aims to reach out to the vulnerable people of the coastal city of Cartagena.

Shakira's website informs that "the project is set to become an urban milestone, a motor of change for 1,500 boys and girls who will benefit directly and 58,000 residents of the Cerro de Popa community" and "...
will be built on a site spanning 7,500 meters squared where students and parents will enjoy classrooms, laboratories, technology and audiovisual centers; multiple sporting fields, teachers and administration, as well as ample space for recreation, art and sports in accordance with the educational philosophy of Pies Descalzos."

Shakira personally said: “I know that the world, little by little will understand that wherever there is a kid who is hungry and can’t attend school…that kid should be a concern to all of us and our responsibility. I’m sure that this awareness will grow in each one of us, because the world has become a small neighborhood, and we should all be concerned about the issues that others have to face.”

This new projekt is for sure another great inspiration for us education passionate people and as soon as I get the opportunity I'll make sure to visit the finished school.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wonderful Development a la Oasis

A close friend of mine had a key role in initiating a fascinating development project this weekend in a low-income area in the capital of Colombia, Bogota.

Oasis is the concept that seeks to united the needs and resources of a low-income area for entrepreneurial and hard-working efforts in an attempt to make real positive change in the local society. Two spectacularly intensive days of transformation, preceeded by a couple of weeks of hard planning and followed by evaluation and celebration of the achieved change.

As they say more than a thousand words, I invite you to check the pictures for yourselves at

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good Public Initiative - How to Secure Success?

The mayor of Cali, Jorge Iván Ospina, has put into reality something that seems like a dream to many of the poor; the creation of an education citadel covering a space as large as 26.710 square meters in Aguablanca, specifically for the poorest children of the city.

If all goes well, this can provide the best quality of education that Cali has to offer once inaugurated in 2011.

The administration, with its participative and inclusive approach located the project right in the middle of the three complicated areas communities 13, 14 and 15, planning a total construction of 16.478 square meteres, of which 5.500 are for public space, 3.165 for a public library and auditorium and 8.927 for the school itself with place for 2.880 primary and secondary pupils at two schedules (morning and afternoon), 300 places for infants and 488 for upper secondary education.

This is the first time that construction workers from Aguablanca itself work with their own hands to build a school for their children. This sole fact might be crucial for a stronger involvement by the parents of this school's future children. As long as accountability from the school to the parents is working, this massive state school might actually be able to initiate a new era in the education story of Cali and Colombia.

Much remains to be seen once the actual teaching starts and time has had it's fair share to put the project on test. No matter the future results, this gives rise to an inspiring present, which I'll follow as closely as possible.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Education in the Jungle

I would never have believed it to be possible that after more than 3 hours of walking in the middle of the jungle, from nowhere, a sight such as the following would appear.

A big school with a basketball/soccer court. Empty because of Christmas holidays, and while no one were to be seen anywhere around the school, the walk led to a small village full of children, part of the local Yagua tribe.

The local school with internet(!!!) connection and a couple of working computers. Our guide Hernando below to the right (me to the left)...
and the rest of the school's playground.
Other beautiful sights included these siblings that suddenly appeared when we were accompanying a field work of a different character, carried out by my brother-in-law.