Hundreds of students gather in Barcelona to shake up the world with their ideas

More than 350 secondary school students are meeting in Barcelona until Sunday to take part in the EduCaixa campus The Challenge, promoted by the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation 
The Challenge es un programa educativo de EduCaixa con más de 10 años de historia <strong>© Ula Prats / FLC</strong>
The Challenge is an EduCaixa educational programme with more than 10 years of history © Ula Prats / FLC

Divided into 107 teams, these young talents are presenting projects that promote social justice, the welfare of people and the protection of the planet. 

Among the one hundred projects to be developed on the campus are initiatives that focus on social challenges such as the growth of mobile phone addiction among young people, the increase in mental health problems, the fight against drought, sustainable urban mobility, intercultural coexistence, gender equality and the reduction of clothing and food waste. All the projects, selected from nearly 2,000 proposals, are related to one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Más de 350 estudiantes participan en el campus The Challenge de EduCaixa en Barcelona <strong>© Ula Prats / FLC</strong>
More than 350 students take part in EduCaixa's The Challenge campus in Barcelona © Ula Prats / FLC

Students from 93 schools in Spain and 7 in Portugal are taking part in the campus. Two teams from the international fair Exporecerca Jove, two teams from the Technovation Girls programme, two teams from Peru and one team from Miami (USA) have also been invited.  

Throughout four days, the participants of the campus will have the opportunity to connect, share and deepen their proposals through meetings with mentors, workshops, conferences, inspirational talks and visits to companies and centres of reference. 

Featured speakers and mentors include the director of the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale University, Victor Padilla-Taylor; the president of the Spanish Youth Council, Andrea González Henry; the neurologist and communicator Mónica Kurtis; the founder of Mentes Empreendedoras, Afonso Mendonça; and the MIT professor and researcher Mercedes Balcells-Camps. The educational visits will take place in institutions such as the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, RTVE Catalunya, Tech Barcelona, Espacio 42 and CaixaForum Barcelona.  

<p>Los participantes podrán desarrollar sus proyectos con el apoyo de mentores y expertos <strong>© Ula Prats / FLC</strong></p>
17 of the teams participating in the campus will be awarded a training trip to the United States © Ula Prats / FLC

Maria Espinet: ‘We want to encourage their talent so that all these brilliant ideas that are born in the classroom end up shaking up the world and transform it into a fairer and more sustainable place’. 

"It is really encouraging to see the ingenuity, enthusiasm and social commitment with which these young people approach their projects. Our aim is to promote their talent so that all these brilliant ideas that are born in the classroom end up shaking up the world and transform it into a fairer and more sustainable place", said the director of the Education Department of the “la Caixa” Foundation, Maria Espinet. 

The campus ends on Saturday with the presentation of the initiatives before a jury of experts who will select the 17 teams that will go on a ten-day training trip to the United States this summer. The winners will present their ideas at the United Nations headquarters in New York and visit some of the most advanced knowledge centres in the world, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Three teams will also be selected to participate in the Youth Start, the youth entrepreneurship competition to be held in October in Berlin. 

<p>17 de los equipos participantes en el campus serán premiados con un viaje formativo a los Estados Unidos<strong> © Ula Prats / FLC </strong></p>
The participants will be able to develop their projects with the support of mentors and experts © Ula Prats / FLC 

More than ten years of promoting transformative ideas

The Challenge is an EduCaixa educational programme with more than ten years of history that, based on a challenge, enables students to develop significant learning and improve their skills, get closer to real professional contexts, live together and contribute to social improvement. 

It is aimed at students in Spain and Portugal over the age of 14 who are in the 3rd or 4th year of ESO, Baccalaureate, Basic Vocational Training or Intermediate Vocational Training. The reference teachers are also actively involved in its prescription, organisation in the classroom and accompaniment in the activities, as well as in exclusive training and community sessions.