Today we want to tell you all a very beautiful and real story that happened a few months ago about a wonderful boy who presented us with an amazing project and it has kept us very busy until now!
The beginning of this project: AROUND THE WORLD
Has anything ever happened that made you feel so sad that you thought you would never recover from it? This happened a few months ago to a wonderful 7 year old boy. His family structure underwent an important change and the young boy knew that his whole world would never be the same again, that maybe somehow what had happened was his fault, and that nothing would ever be beautiful again… And so these sad thoughts began to go round the little boys head until closed himself off from everyone and he even stopped talking.
ILERI works in 3 areas: business, solidarity actions and education. In the latter we carry out a thousand and one amazing projects, each as different and wonderful as the one before with children and adolescents, accompanied by the most brilliant network of collaborators and friends from around the world (economists, architects, doctors, engineers, psychologists, professors, athletes, painters, cooks, computer technicians, journalists, designers, photographers, artists, film directors…) Everything we do comes from two common pillars: motivation and determination. These are key tools to overcoming challenges. We do not think “WE CAN’T”, instead we think “WE WILL HAVE CHALLENGES BUT THAT IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT, IS IT NOT? TO OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES AND GO FOR the GOLD!”. And that is why we think we received the case of this beautiful and unique child, because just maybe something different could reach his heart. We will call this boy Jan, a fictitious name, which allows us to protect his privacy and the trust he and his family placed in us.
The adventure begins
At the beginning we had a hard time getting through to Jan and it was difficult for him to trust us, but one day something magical happened. One of the ILERI English teachers talked from her own experiences of traveling and explained how wonderful and beautiful it was to travel the world. All the amazing people you can meet, the incredible animals you can see, all of the different foods you can taste… But sometimes when traveling you can also see things that can make you feel sad, that make you wonder why things happen and that however much you try you cannot change these things because it does not depend on you and this can be very frustrating. And she told Jan about her experiences in Burma. The goal was for Jan to understand that we can influencer situations that depend on us but that there will be many more situations that do not depend on us and that are beyond our reach. We can only try to change what is within our means, such as his family situation and to process the rest we need help, just like him.
The wonderful boy whose heart had been broken listened to the teacher and just when she had finished talking he looked at her, he felt everything she had said in his heart and he spoke to her: My dream is to travel around the world. But dreams don’t come true. That day the teacher and Jan made a pact: the teacher promised to try and make his dream come true if he opened his heart and let others help him. It was beautiful…The teacher asked Jan if he knew how many countries there were in the world? Two?, he answered, it was clear that he never imagined that there are actually 196!
If you can dream it, you can imagine how to do it; endeavour to create a plan to make this dream a reality. But the question is: Do you want to?
Over the next few days, everything seemed different. Both Jan and the teacher began taking steps to fulfil their side of the pact. Jan began to trust those around him and the ILERI team came up with a plan to help make his dream come true: travel around the world, country by country and continent by continent.
We thought that the best way to travel around the world and to have something to remember it forever would be to take a trip with photographs and ask families and people who either live, have lived or traveled to each country to tell us something about the country, something from the heart. And so ILERI made a plan to contact 196 countries around the world.
The first step: From Catalonia to the world
We began with the place where the child lives, Catalonia (Spain) Over 200 children from the ILERI English classes signed up to help with the project. They know how we work and have been learning English with our system based on the Nordic learning system which is focused on trust, emotion, and surprise and ultimately, learning through experiences and unforgettable life lessons. They have learned English with a Chinese circus; the recreation of the American Route 66 with the help of 17 Harley motorbike clubs and an American delegation, at an airport where we created our own fictional airline accompanied by hostesses and real pilots, through designing and building a kitchen for our solidarity project for children in an Ethiopian orphanage, by discovering the real world of the Olympics with the visit of a bronze champion in the Olympics in Sydney and obtaining the wonderful prize of two of the best soccer players in the world.
After learning English through so many unforgettable experiences telling the children that we would travel the world through images, was a wonderful and perfectly easy task for ILERI! They are children and their infinite confidence in us gave the ILERI team a lot of strength.
The 200 children wanted to start the trip around the world showing their own part of the world, the amazing scenery, wonderful traditions and the thousand and one reasons they are happy and why life is beautiful. They wanted to show how everyone has so much to offer and how important it is to help each other and combine efforts together.
Step two: it’s time to reach out to the whole world
Seeing the children’s amazing reaction we began to make the initial contacts with people from different countries. We knew we had quite a challenge ahead of us and would have make hundreds of contacts around the world to make it possible. But the reactions from the people we contacted in the first week really left us wide-eyed! The entire ILERI team was filled with enthusiasm and it was contagious! In one week we had families and people from 17 countries, in the second week, 33 countries, in three weeks 56. In the fourth week we had contacts from 81 countries and in five weeks, 99 and so it continued without stopping, locating people from countries that until now we hardly knew they existed. Many of our team had never heard of Nauru, Vanuatu, Comoros, and Suriname. Small and distant countries, filled with wonderful people. From Africa to Oceania, from Europe to Antarctica, from America to Asia. People were very kind, each one discovering that when you join forces even the impossible becomes possible. From Syria to Nauru, from Brazil to Bangladesh, from Columbia to Switzerland, Portugal to Indonesia. In nine weeks we managed to complete our challenge: 196 countries of the existing 196 countries, in addition to some very special places from around the world such as Gili Meno, Socotra, Palestine, Martinique, Whitsunday, Komodo Island, Alaska and Greenland…
Step three: realizing what we have achieved
Doctors with very little internet reception in Ethiopia challenged technology and managed to send their photos. From El Salvador ardent defenders of pensioners’ rights. Dear David, who helped a homeless child become one of the best national dancers in Mozambique through his NGO. Eva and her entity that has been a breath of fresh air for Yemen, a country at war. A brave transplant survivor who is giving thanks by traveling the world by bike, all of this is explained from Albania. The Catalans al món platform and all of Sergi’s help, Anna’s amazing generosity all the way from Saudi Arabia, sweet Lilia’s enormous help from Algeria, the minute-by-minute messages from our friend Julia, an international specialist from Brazil, and Marta for reaching out to the network of international researchers… each representative from each country has a marvelous story to tell, which we might just do one day, a complete encyclopedia.
We have also counted on people from the business world, workers, members of NGO’s, people who are traveling around the world, local people who wanted to show their corner of the world, international photographers who have done incredible reports for National Geographic and other media, they did not hesitate to help us. Their photographs are so exceptional and unique, given freely and from the heart. Nicolás Marino sent his photos from Australia and called from India to make sure everything was okay and in a few days he was packing up again to continue his photographic journey around the world. Can you imagine, one of the most important photographers in the world asking if they can help with anything else? And Eduardo and Esteban, whose names we have swapped so many times! Everyone working together! So many people have helped us that we cannot mention them all by name as there are hundreds of them. It has not been an easy project to fulfill but it has been one of the most beautiful and exciting experiences of our lives. Only the other day we were talking about how the person from Estonia we had contacted was unable to help when Carla our contact from Monaco told us not to worry that Estonia would be in the project, and so it was. What amazing teamwork! Our representatives from France wanted to recreate a photo they had taken as little girls and show both… everyone pulled together to create the most amazing photographs to turn the dream of a little boy into an even more wonderful reality than the dream itself could be. It was all so very exciting.
A lesson the children will never forget
It has been amazing. A thousand thanks to each one of them (and you) and thank you to the specialists from ILERI who began this project and made it possible and who once again believed in the infinite capacity of people to overcome any obstacle. Now it will be very easy to teach the children the following concepts:
It will be very easy because they will “live” it every day through the real experience of this trip around the world in 9 weeks.
This is for you
Many of you that made this dream a reality will be reading this text now and that is why from ILERI we ask that you stop a moment and read the following, which is for you:
“Dear friend, for that is what you have become to us:
Your small gesture has changed the life of a child that had stopped dreaming and who thanks to you began to believe again. When Jan saw the album printed and finished he was overcome with emotion. And the words that had failed him before now came, filled with emotion, passion and energy. And that is thanks to you. Thanks to you and people like you, Jan and many others have seen that dreams can really come true. And anytime that you may be feeling low, just remember everything you have achieved here today and just as you helped make a dream a reality today, tomorrow, we will not hesitate to help make your dreams come true. A huge kiss and hug from the ILERI team."
Watch the video and album of the ILERI Around the world project
We will never forget this beautiful and exciting experience, or all of the wonderful people we have met from around the world. Below you will find the links for the video and album of this amazing challenge.
You will find two surprises at the end of the album: one from one of the youngest world travelers, who at only 44 years of age has been to every country in the world (our beloved José Antonio) and the autograph of a race car driver, (thank you Oriol for finishing our book!) What an amazing thing it is when we all pull together.