Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a semifinalist.


Mexico, MexicoMexico, Mexico
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We provide sensory and playful experiences for children teenagers and adults in public and private institutions, such as workshops and dinners in the dark. These are led by blind facilitators, experts in generating empathy among people and a culture of openness to diversity in an innovative way

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if a blind person can show you how to see people in a different way by leading you into a innovative sensory experience?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Lack of diversity in organizations constitutes a major issue in Mexico, for its impact in school and work environments, as well as in innovation. In Mexico City there are 10,381 schools increasingly living violence among students; and companies are suffering innovation stagnation. There are also 110,264 visually impaired people, who are left-behind in education and employment, but have outstanding potential to facilitate empathic environments

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our model of training blind people as innovative facilitators in order to conduct creative experiences in schools and companies has proven along 8 years to help organizations create more empathic environments. We have developed unique experiences using sensory photography together with other playful and participatory dynamics as powerful tools for social change. The fact that a blind person does photography and guides people in the dark encouraging them to use their other senses (different than the sight) triggers a huge impact in them and allows a deep emotional opening, and thus, attitudinal changes. Meanwhile, blind people gain empowerment and inclusion by helping society be more empathic and generate better human relationships.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In 2011, we carried out a series of workshops and dinners in the dark in various sales teams at DELL Mexico, as they intended to address a dysfunctional work environment. As an ongoing project, we continued our intervention with the delivery of “gifts with cause” (photos taken by blind facilitators) and the permanent labor inclusion of 2 visually impaired people in their workforce. Results reported by the Director were conclusively positive: due to our intervention, the sales teams had had a significant improvement in communication and team work, allowing them to reach their goals and feel more comfortable at work. Since then, DELL has been one of our most loyal clients, opening more opportunities for blind social change agents.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Regarding quantitative data, we keep track of each one of our activities and the number of people involved. As for students, since 2006, we have trained 160 visually; we have helped 23 of them get permanent jobs at companies and within our organization; around 50 of them are included in temporary jobs -as facilitators, guides in the dark and photographers- in our activities. We have conducted 262 innovative experiences in schools, universities, companies and other organizations; impacting directly and indirectly 398,618 sighted people. As regards our qualitative approach: we document psychosocial outcomes of training assessing the degree of students empowerment, being able to witness the upgrade of their quality of life; we conduct follow up interviews for labor inclusion, photo and video record of awareness experiences, obtaining positive feedback and evidence of cultural change.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We strongly believe we can have a much wider impact with the model we have designed and reach many other institutions and people. We see a particular potential in impacting children and help schools prevent bullying, due to the successful workshops we have carried out within this population. Children are especially receptive to the kind of playful experiences we create and provide, so thinking about growth; we will definitely address this age group. In this way, we will be able to open more opportunities for visually impaired people, so a to promote their empowerment and labor inclusion.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Currently, we are funded through grants and the sale of our services. Our goal is to become self-sustaining, generating the resources necessary for operation and projects through sales, not depending on non-recurring donations, and only use them to provide services in public schools and social organizations. We need investment for a marketing and growth strategy to be able to reach a growing demand from companies to address diversity issues.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The benchmark for our services in Mexico is comprised of highly experienced and positioned consultants that offer companies solutions to help the cultural change. In general, the rest of the consultants face the problem from a more theoretical and academic approach; some of them even apply quantitative instruments as organizational climate surveys, others offer individual coaching. The difference of our proposal is that we address the issue from an experiential and playful approach (achieving to connect people from an emotional level), which has shown to be innovative and effective.

Founding Story

Gina Badenoch, a professional photographer, after some research on visually challenged photographers, found that photography was a tool with huge potential for the blind, since it could be used as a way to be seen and heard. She founded “Ojos que Sienten” in 2006 and started teaching sensory photography to blind people in Mexico. She found that, thank to the self-confidence developed in her students at the workshops, they could discover and begin to practice outstanding skills such us public speaking and group coordination. Gina realized that her students were the best ambassadors for generating empathy and awareness in society and started to design innovative experiences for them to conduct.


Our founder Gina Badenoch is a professional photographer and worldwide recognized as a social entrepreneur. The team is complemented with Irene, current Director, Ph.D. Candidate in Organizational Studies; Teresa, human development specialist with 30 years experience in corporate workshops; Soledad, educational research specialist; Yhali, cultural management expert; José Pacheco, sensory experiences designer and certified coach.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, DIF, Mexico

Country where this project is creating social impact

, DIF, Mexico

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, Customers.


Ojos que Sienten got 2014 GIIRS Certification for Social Impact.
Gina Badenoch, Founder and Board President, was awarded with the British Empire Medal (2014), named a member of Quality of Life Council from Mexico City Government (2013), selected as Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum (2012), won the UBS Premio Visionaris (2011) and is an Ashoka Fellow since 2008.

Primary Target Age Group


Your role in Education

After-School Provider, Other.

Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free), Private (tuition-based).

Intervention Focus

Extracurricular, Professional Development, other.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Actively Designing Space & Culture as Essential Elements for Learning: Creating cost-effective methods to infuse a school with habits, language, and materials needed for learning through play.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?


Short, mid and long term impact measurement in children exposed to our programs.


Innovative methodologies in topics such as diversity, tolerance, empathy, team work, etc.

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

We are seeking to systematize our methodology to be able to scale the Project in order reach more children from public and private institutions.
We are also working toward enriching the program contents according to the diferent contexts where children are exposed ond daily basis ,to garantee we develop activities where blind people can also have a deeper impact.
One of our long term goals is to design follow up programmes where the families of the children exposed to our workshops can also participate with the contents and objectives we are working towards to assure engagement.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

a) *Blind people: human development, training and labor inclusion
*Children and adults: playful and innovative Workshops, implemented by visually impaired coordinators, which strengthen their emotional intelligence and relationships with others
b) Public school
c) Every month during one semester
d) 2.5 hours per workshop
e) Visually impaired students trained as facilitators
f) We would like to bring evidence of how facilitators from a vulnerable group (disability) can help children become change agents and create healthier relationships and environments, preventing violence.

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

Traditional education is based on the assumption that knowledge can be transferred from a person in authority -the teacher- to another person -the 'passive recipient' or student-.
This passive role of students is the cause of declining motivation at the root of the so-called 'educational crisis', failing to educate for the needs of the individual as a member of a wider community.
We believe in the urgency of a new paradigm of education in which students have a much more active role and the valuable outcomes of the educational process includes growth of collaboration, empathy and creativity.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

We believe ‘play’ fosters creative thinking and optimize child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. We are certain that learning through play strengthens peer relationships and social skills.
We consider this is a must-have nowadays since we need to prepare our children not only to be enterprising and strategic thinkers but also to develop a strong sense of social awareness and team work. They will need this kind of abilities in order to face better the pressing environmental and social problems in an increasingly technology-driven and constantly changing world.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

DINNERS 1,471,700 39
WORKSHOPS 174,010 5
EXPOS 32,500 1
DONATIONS 495,070 13
GIFTS WITH A CAUSe 317,341 8
TOTAL 2013 3,806,621 100

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

We offer training and development of visually impaired and create social awareness towards the 'abilities of disability' through sensory experiences they lead. With these, we generate opportunities for labor inclusion for our blind students as we raise social awareness towards diversity and generate income for the association.
Our philosophy and hybrid system generates important social impact as well as sustainability of the organization.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

We would use these resources to implement playful workshops for children in public shools, showing, by example of visually impaired, the importance of removing labels on people to go further and see the value that people have beyond those labels.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

Our allies (associations and universities) are key to our mission: they provide us technology and adequate spaces to teach the classes and give our workshops.
We work with them on a win-win situation in which they provide something we need to carry out our activities, and they receive from us workshops for their personnel and students to improve they work and school environment.

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.
VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

Given this scenario, we would have continued working to train more people with visual disabilities to become workshop leaders and through their experience, they wpuld have replicated the model in public and private schools.
The model would have helped create more peaceful, harmonious and diverse environments at schools and provide better disposition for learning.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

As part of the construction of the case, we would carry out a school climate questionnaire before and after the workshops, in order to measure the impact of our experiences. Indicators would focus on directors, teachers and student’s perceptions of peer and student-teacher relationships -regarding acceptance, trust, empathy, collaboration and conflict prevention- and the effect those have on the learning environment.

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

Not Applicable - yet! (we are at the idea stage or start-up)

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?


Other (please specify)
Number of Employees:

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers:


APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Symbolic Play.

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.