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The moment they start working they can start to save and get out of that situation.

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Not A School Samsung

Leticia Galdon

Leticia Galdon
Social Entrepreneur
'Not A School' Theme
Technology for positive social change.

Welcome to Samsung’s Not a School’, alternative lessons for the future. We caught up with social entrepreneur Leticia Galdon ahead of her workshop at at Samsung KX, Samsung’s latest flagship showcase in Coal Drop’s Yard London.

New technologies are bound to change the future, but it’s how we use that will really count.

With that in mind, educating young people for the future shouldn’t just be about teaching them how things work – rather it should be focused on inspiring them to imagine how things could work differently. How tools, both old and new, can be repurposed to new and creative ends.

This has been the mission of ‘Samsung’s Not a School’, an alternative education programme run by Samsung. For the past four weeks, from a base at Samsung KX, their newly opened flagship space in Coal Drop’s Yard London, a lineup of mentors and facilitators have been meeting with a group of young people – sharing their experiences from a range of industries and introducing them to the ways they are fixing to change the world. From sustainable cooks to campaigners, it’s been a chance to hear from leading lights in a variety of fields – all united by their passion for redesigning the future.

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One of the programme experts is social entrepreneur Leticia Galdon.

Leticia’s background is in social work, but after moving to London to study for a masters, she began to connect with people working in tech startups. “When I saw all these startups in London, I realised that the problems most of them were trying to solve were, in my opinion, not that important,” she remembers. “So when I started to hang out with them and tell them about the humanitarian problems I was concerned about, their eyes lit up.”

This marriage of social work and technology ultimately led to Paz – an organisation founded by Leticia and her friends Aida Martinez and Alvaro Sanmartin. Leticia describes them as an “impact startup”. They work with refugees in Europe, upskilling them with highly employable digital skills and then connecting them with tech companies. “This model can transform a life from someone who is relying on humanitarian aid, to becoming an active member of the economy, integrated in the European community.”

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In Leticia’s eyes, coding and other digital skills present a perfect opportunity. Refugees can work remotely – saving them from competing exclusively within the local economy in places like Greece. Then there’s the demand. At a time when companies continue to struggle to recruit people with digital skills, Leticia’s project is creating a huge resource of refugee tech talent. When you elevate people to the digital talent, it doesn’t matter where they come from,” she continues. “The moment they start working they can start to save and get out of that situation.”

Her logic is simple: that the brightest minds working in technology should be focused on solving the world’s problems. It’s an idea she hopes will inspire the participants at ‘Not a School’ to think about how collaboration across disciplines can yield amazing results.

The moment they start working they can start to save and get out of that situation.

For Leticia, ‘Samsung’s Not A School’ presents a unique opportunity to maximise her own social impact, to inspire young innovators to consider developing similarly-minded projects. “By doing things like this I feel that my social impact maximises,” she adds. “If one or two people, at the sessions, get inspired and start their own ventures, that means I will have had an impact not only in my project but in others.”

More than anything, she hopes to inspire them to see that amazing things can happen when you challenge the way things are. From navigating legal assistance, to being turned away at the gates of refugee camps, her work has never been easy. “I’m disrupting something,” Leticia says, “so obviously, in order to that, I have to navigate barriers and challenges.” The startup is the product of its founders’ creativity, but also resilience – something Leticia hopes the ‘Samsung’s Not A School’ participants will be motivated by.

“I love being surrounded by young people. They have all these ideas,” she says. “Once they enter the job market, they are told not to dream big. I want to encourage them to turn that around. If not you, who? If not now, when?”

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If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

I want to break barriers and bring people together. Because when people come together, magic happens.

What’s one skill we should all have?

Resilience. Life is tough. The more you learn to take things as they come, and come out of them stronger, that’s a super-power.

What has been the best part of starting your own project?

The people I get to work with, the stories that I get to become part of. Being part of a community of people who are refugees and non-refugees who believe in the same thing.