Thursday, February 28, 2013

I know it is late for this... Update of what I did up to Feb 1

Since the day in which I submitted my application (December 25) to today I have made significant progress in my project and at the same time I have faced a couple of new challenges.

From December 24 to December 31 I worked full time on developing my website. It was hard for me since it was my first time doing web-development plus my family considered that I should be spending more time with them due to the holidays.
After working hard during those days I was able to finally launch the first prototype of Makeducation on December 31.

The other part of my project includes working with a local community of kids that have malnutrition. On December they didn’t know any English but during the past month they have been working with Duolingo and most of them already know the basics.

During the past month I have been spreading the word about my website and I already have 21 users. I haven’t been making as much progress with the content as I would like to but I am working on that. One of the biggest challenges is that many of the functions of the website are not fully functional yet plus a lot of people are skeptical to try the website since they don’t trust a 14 year old Guatemalan girl nor my project due to the lack of fame.

Another challenge I have faced with my project is that I am trying to build a network of Latin-American people teaching each other and use my website for that but again people are skeptical. I tried contacting a lot of people and got rejected by most. Fortunately I did get some answers and I am working on potential partnerships with institutions and educators which can make a great impact on my project.

Skepticism is not the only challenge I faced this month. I also faced the challenge of not having as much time as I would like to have to work. Before I had more time to spare but now I don’t have as much time as I would like to have to work on my project because I have to balance between going to school, college and my project.

Apart from that I got accepted as an M121 2013 fellow. M121 is a community of leaders working on social enterprises and that wish to have an impact in the world. The program is completely online so the diversity of backgrounds is amazing. I am the youngest fellow. You can see my profile here:

I was also featured on IdeaMensch on January 23. You can see the interview here:

One of the persons that was most interested on my project was Jeff Sandefer and he posted about me and my project on the blog from Acton Academy Austin

Something else that happened this month that will have a significant impact for my project is that I was invited speak at the CSA (Cloud Security Alliance Conference in Guatemala and I was accepted as part of a program called Heuristica, which is a venture capital fund for students and alumni of UFM (Universidad Francisco Marroquin).

That is a fair summary of the progress I have made in the past month and the main challenges I faced. I think that this month was one of the most important months for my project, not just because the website was launched but because I was able to start transforming my idea into something real that has the potential to change the world.

Another major step was that ever since I started working on the application I realized the things I really care about and what I want to achieve. Now that I have more concrete goals I am determined to keep this project going no matter what happens and what people say.

Maria Teresa Chavez
Founder of Makeducation

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