Day 10: A Visit to Ashoka

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A piece of inspiration on the wall at Ashoka: “Here are the disruptive ones, the dreamers, and the problematic ones. They are always thinking outside of the box. They are the ones who see things differently.”

This morning, the BC and PUC students visited Ashoka: an innovation startup in Santiago with ties to Boston College School of Social Work. After a brief introduction to the center, we met with one of the social entrepreneurs, Tomas, who founded a non profit organization in Chile called Panal. This organization helps to empower vulnerable youth in schools, so that they are able to become leaders and impact change on important social issues. His story and work were very inspiring, and they helped to spark some ideas about innovation, leadership, and transformation, specifically in relation to our work at San Joaquin.

Tomas encouraged us to believe that social change is always possible, and it is necessary to spread this message to our clients and stakeholders, especially when they express doubts or resistance to change. Also, it is not enough for us to simply think about change, but we must rather take action and create change. He left us with a quote from the Matrix: “Don’t think you are. Know you are.” There is no room for doubt in innovation. Rather than falling in love with the potential solution, we must fall in love with the problem itself. This is the only way through which we will be able to achieve social transformation.

Written by Katherine Germak, Boston College School of Social Work

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