Young innovators series: Scarleth Vasconcelos on her desire to create solutions for children living in El Bluff, Nicaragua

Name: Scarleth Vasconcelos Villavicencio

Age: 21

Scarleth graduated from the American College in Nicaragua, where she studied Renewable Energy Engineering. She is currently working on her final project before graduation, and is collaborating on talks and workshops about entrepreneurialism and renewable energies at the Indian Caribbean University  located in Bluefields, BICU, Nicaragua. She also has a fascination for languages and cultures. She is currently studying German and English.

In 2015 Scarleth won the first place of the‘Global Design for UNICEF Challenge,’ alongside Roberto Emilio Rocha, Luis Gabriel Benjamin Montalván, and other team members. They founded ‘Sociopreneur’ which focuses on creating collaborative solutions.

The idea consists of developing an app and training doctors and nurses to use this app to input a patient’s information. This way, doctors will be able to give better medical services to children. With this app, it will be possible to monitor disease outbreaks in El Bluff, which could lead to potential solutions on how to control these outbreaks.

What inspired you to come up with your innovation/youth?
Scarleth Vasconcelos (SV): My inspiration came after I found out about the social living conditions of children in El Bluff. The children don’t receive medical attention easily due El Bluff’s location. I started to research online about the conditions of medical clinics, the mortality rates, and the life expectancy of children in the North Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. I saw the ‘Global Design for UNICEF Challenge’ as an opportunity to get involved in supporting these children and helping improve their living conditions.

What challenges did you encounter when you were trying to execute your innovation/project?
SV: In the beginning, we had a few communication problems, but as time went by, we all learned how to work as a team, which is not easy. We also saw the positive side of things. When we worked as a team, we could come up with more ideas, take more innovative approaches, and learn to respect everyone’s point of view.

However, designing a schedule of activities and trying to stick to it was tough. Our plans didn’t go as expected and that was also a challenge. We’ve taken all these experiences as lessons learned. We are currently working with an engineer from the US who is helping us create the digital database that we’ll be using for our app.

What’s the best advice that you’ve received?
SV: Never give up on your dreams. All sacrifices are worth it! In the beginning, we were not seeing results but on the long run, hard work pays off. I’ve learned that discipline, respect, dedication, and support to others should be present on a daily basis.

This has impacted my life in so many levels. When I’m working on a task, whether it’s a personal or professional project, the most important thing is to do it in the best possible way. Even when you want to quit, it’s important to know that there is no greater satisfaction than accomplishing a goal.


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