The future will be defined by abilities like problem solving, creativity, collaboration, emotional intelligence and critical thinking. Creative play environments could be the key to develop these skills. In Mexico, finding these environments in low-income communities is nearly impossible and most of private schools do not have them either.
Estación Meiquer is a learning model based on creative play that provides the environment, time, people and tools for kids to develop these abilities, and also embraces gender equality, diversity, failure and respect for everyone’s ideas. We sustain this model by selling summer camps that fund free workshops in low-income communities.
What is our social impact for the global goals?
We are collaborating to achieve the SDG 4th Goal: Quality Education. The development of these abilities to create better opportunities for the future, for everyone, is fundamental.
How does our model work?
We have a 1-to-1 business model, were we provide a 2-week summer camp (97 USD) which funds a 10-week program in low-income communities (FREE). This way, we provide the same workshop for 2 kids and save money that will fund new equipment for the future Mobile Meiquer Labs.
How is this feasible?
Once we have a Mobile Meiquer Laboratory (~3200 USD basic lab,~8000 USD advanced lab), we can easily replicate the workshop in several communities at the same time. Having a kid in the summer camp costs us 15 USD, while having a kid in the semester program costs 18 USD.
The cost per kid is based on the materials, food and drinks that will be provided to each kid during the activities, as well as what we pay for the psychological training for our instructors. This leaves us a revenue of 82 USD p/kid in a summer camp, which will be used to fund more materials/tools for the lab (18 p/kid), as well as covering other operational costs (transport for our instructors to communities cost us about 60 USD p/semester).
We expect to have 15 kids in the 2018 Summer Camp, 10 kids in Jocotán (Guadalajara, Mexico) and 10 kids in El Sauz (Guadalajara, Mexico). Following the model, we could earn up to 1,005 USD during the summer camp, buy materials for two semester programs (10 kids and 180 USD each), cover operational costs (13 USD for Jocotán and 37 USD for El Sauz) and save up to 585 USD for the Mobile Meiquer Lab.
Who are our beneficiaries and clients?
We have learned in two years, the lack of creative play environments impacts most kids, regardless from their economic situation. Kids who are able to pay for extra curricular courses might not be receiving quality time to play or correct tools; Kids from low-income communities might not have safe environments and quality time to play, nor access to tech tools. Thus, our project seeks to impact both sectors.
Our clients are parents who are able to pay for summer camps and seek to provide the best tools and education to their kids. We get to them by 2 main distribution channels: 1) by recommendation from other parents that have tried the workshops, 2) through partner schools/maker schools (like Täleny, an Estación Meiquer’s partner school). We have validated both models in our pilots.
Our beneficiaries are parents and kids in low-income communities where we have allies that can provide safe environments, like the Social Incubators from the Tec de Monterrey. We have provided 44 workshops in Jocotán to 20 kids, where we have seen amazing results on the kids. On 2018, we are planning to reach out a new community: El Sauz. These low-income communities have high violence rates and marginalization problems but, at the same time, they are inside Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest and richest city.
In the end, we seek to create a community with both our beneficiaries and clients, where we can share creative play experiences and learnings. For this reason, we have created a Facebook group, where we want to add all the Meiquer Family, as well as create events in the future to gather parents who participate in both our summer camp and semester programs. We are looking forward to validate this in 2018.
In Zapopan, about 17.2% of the population are kids between 5-14 years old (~211,000). More than 150,000 children could be possible candidates to participate in our workshops. Our goal is to target the 1% of the parents from this kids, impacting 1,500 children in Guadalajara’s Urban Area.
Who will provide the workshops?
Our instructors are engineer and design students from the Tecnológico de Monterrey. In return for their services, they will be earning 140 Social Service hours, which is a requirement to get their Bachelor degree. As mentioned earlier, they will also receive psychological training (50 USD p/instructor), as well as a course of how they will implement the workshop. We are looking forward to preserve the instructors for at least 1 year, to reduce the psychological training costs.
Where will the workshops be held?
We need to provide safe environments, thus, we look for key partners that could provide us with the necessary spaces for the workshops. Currently, the Tecnológico de Monterrey is providing us with 3 spaces: Campus Guadalajara Makerspace (summer camp), Incubadora Social Jocotán (semester program) and Incubadora Social El Sauz (semester program). Täleny, one of the few maker schools in the city, has also invited us to use their maker space for the pilots and future summer camps.
What has been our impact?
After two years of workshops, kids have changed their perspective of their future; they have discovered, learned and thought; they ended up with a smile afterwards and they now wanted to become engineers, scientists or even astronauts!
We have experienced how kids changed their abilities and developed, for example, a girl didn’t want to participate in the activities and was very shy, but after the workshops, she ended up being the most active, was very open and wanted to participate in everything.
Our goal is to reach more than 70 kids from 3 different communities by the end 2018.