Travel bursary tales: How Ana and Isabel found a community of like-minded people at Coolest Projects

Ana (18) and Isabel (12) both attend the Esposende @ Associação de Cidadãos de Esposende Dojo in Portugal, and were able to participate in Coolest Projects International 2019 thanks to a travel bursary.  Their project, Animal Friends, was a system to allow pet owners to interact with their pets when the owners are away from home.

A shared space

Both girls spoke with enthusiasm about how Coolest Projects provides a shared space where young people from around the world can meet, connect, and spark creativity in one another. Isabel described how attending the event gave her a sense of belonging: “I loved meeting other girls. I loved seeing that young people can have a meeting place in the world”. Ana highlighted how for her, the event represented a platform where young people with shared interests can come together and be a force for positive change in the world: “Young people can be united [at Coolest Projects], by a cause, for a reason: the computers, the programming… We can have a space where we are all the same, where we are all [family], and above all, I think the world gets better with these events.”

The Esposende Dojo team were featured in the local news in Portugal

An inclusive community

Ana and Isabel’s experience shows how Coolest Projects is more than just a technology event — it is an inclusive space where all young people are welcomed, and where they feel safe to showcase their ideas and creations in a community of like-minded people. As Ana put it: “We can show everyone that [all] young people, rich or poor, can come to Coolest Projects because there is support that allows us to go.”

Ana and Isabel’s travel bursary was in part funded by one of our generous Coolest Projects sponsors, BNY Mellon.

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