PARAGUAY: Salesian graduate invited to give TED Talk about NASA Space Camp experience
(MissionNewswire) Salesian graduate, Sebastián Núñez, who completed his studies in 2018 at the Salesian School in Asunción, Paraguay, was selected to speak about his experience at NASA at a recent TED Talk.
In July 2018, Núñez was accepted into NASA’s Space Camp program at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. To be selected to attend, Núñez had to present numerous documents and reference letters and highlight an experiment that he had done documented by photographs and videos.
“It was a goal we achieved because I’ve always dreamed of being part of a NASA program and even working there,” says Núñez. “As difficult as it may seem for those who have always dreamed of being an astronaut, it seemed such a distant objective, yet I went ahead to achieve it. The experience of the Space Camp was a further step forward that brought me closer to what I had always dreamed of doing.”
After completing his experience at NASA, Núñez had the opportunity to speak as part of the TED Talks this July. He says, “At home I had no internet, but I had a collection of encyclopedias and books, and I would spend my time drawing planets and comets. At night I spent hours looking at the sky and the stars. As a child I cultivated this dream of becoming an astronaut. I’m happy to share my personal experience, to show that it is possible, with the utmost dedication, to fulfill one’s dreams.”
At the TED Talks, Núñez not only narrated his experience, but also listened to the stories of other young people. Once he had completed both Space Camp and the TED Talks, Núñez emphasizes that the future of nations is in the hands of the new generations.
Salesian missionaries have been working in Paraguay since establishing a church in Asunción in 1896. Through the years, missionaries have operated educational programs to help advance the skills and knowledge of the indigenous population in the area while promoting strong cooperation with leaders of the indigenous culture. Local Salesian programming supports laws in favor of the indigenous populations, the recovery of original lands, sustainable development, the appreciation of cultural values in each ethnic group and the fostering of internal leadership.
Paraguay is among the poorest countries in South America. According to UNICEF, almost 23 percent of its population of 6.5 million people live in poverty earning less than $1 per day. The gap between the small upper class and the large lower class is extreme and offers virtually no social mobility.
Conditions of poverty drive youth into early labor and a lack of literacy, in addition to a weak educational foundation, compounds the problem. Those in poverty face overcrowding, low quality housing and a lack of access to basic household services. Paraguayans who only graduate from primary school are twice as likely to live in poverty as those who have access to and complete secondary school.
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UNICEF – Paraguay
Salesian Missions – Paraguay