Every day we wake up with data about almost any subject. Two good questions in this regard are whether we have given in to the coldness of the numbers, causing a kind of desensitization (by repeating them again and again), or if the statistics are adequately serving the fundamental purpose of our actions.

These last days when I participated for the third time in the Latino Impact Summit, at the United Nations, I picked up some data to put a value and confront them with reality. One of my purposes as a social activist is to promote quality education, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. In this sense, the high rate of school dropout in Latin America is worrisome, especially among young people with limited resources.

According to UNESCO, the net enrollment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean rose to 76% in 2010 in secondary school, compared to 49% in 1990. However, the most worrying aspect is permanence. A high percentage of students between 13 and 15 years of age do not attend because of lack of interest, which shows a lack of conviction about the possibility of a better future through education. But they are also absent for fear of violence.

There is no doubt that the educational difficulties put in check the economic and social development of the region. Today we are required to be exponential: more creative and more productive, so we do not become obsolete. But what happens if we have not even been able to ensure a basic education for young people?

From the Ismael Cala Foundation, we work in training programs in leadership and emotional intelligence, to generate trust, curiosity, intentionality, self-control, ability to communicate and cooperate.

These projects seek to impact young people because it is evident that the traditional school is less concerned with mindfulness as a tool for creating awareness and resolving conflicts.

Alliances with companies, universities, governments and social development organizations are essential. Without a quality integral education, the region will not be able to overcome the enormous current labor, technological and social challenges. The contribution of non-governmental organizations represents a grain of sand, but the challenge is to inspire more people and institutions and incorporate them into the dynamics of change. It all adds up.

On one occasion, the Archbishop of Calcutta asked Mother Teresa how she would solve the problem of thousands of people who were dying in the streets of India. She, immune to discouragement, replied: “one by one.”