“ Travel kind of opens your mind to a new possibility that wasn’t there before,” says Baldo Bobadilla. “That’s the idea with these kids. Throw stuff at them that they aren’t used to and make them think.”
“ Travel kind of opens your mind to a new possibility that wasn’t there before,” says Baldo Bobadilla. “That’s the idea with these kids. Throw stuff at them that they aren’t used to and make them think.”

Baldo Bobadilla grew up in Puerto Casado, a little town in Northern Paraguay, where, even to this day, clean water only runs for a couple of hours a day.

“I grew up fine, you know,” he says, laughing. “We had electricity … not always, but …”

Near where he lived, there was an indigenous reservation where a native tribe, the Maskoys, lived in poverty and horrible conditions.

“It was always a fact to me that just on the other side of the fence people were living like that and it was like, what the …?” says Bobadilla.

The Maskoys still live in much the same conditions as when Bobadilla was growing up, struggling to sustain themselves with no access to sanitation systems or clean water.

Bobadilla now lives in Reno. He attended high school here as an exchange student and met his wife. He’s trained as an engineer and is part of the local band Drinking With Clowns. From his experience growing up, Bobadilla was drawn to start a non-profit organization, Future Kind, in order to help populations in need. He describes the project as a health and knowledge organization.

Bobadilla and a group of artists and educators with similar interests in helping communities in need through education and infrastructure created Future Kind. Initially, Bobadilla wanted to create sustainably designed water systems and septic systems for populations who don’t have a reliable clean water supply—like those in his hometown. With his background in engineering, Bobadilla can design these types of systems as well as roads and other infrastructure. However, these projects are complicated. They require a lot of equipment and government involvement, as well as communication with tribes to see how to best meet their needs. Bobadilla is currently in discussions with tribes and governments in Paraguay and Colombia. However, these projects will probably have to wait until the nonprofit is more established and can find funding for larger-scale endeavors.

“Some of these places are very remote. You can’t even drive in there,” says Bobadilla. “You don’t just pick up and go. So construction projects become very expensive.”

For fun and nonprofit

The nonprofit is moving forward with plans for its first initiative—digital libraries. This fits with the knowledge and education aspect of the organization. The idea is to buy e-readers or tablets, such as the Kindle Fire or the iPad, and load them up with learning apps and textbooks that cover a range of topics including computer programming, arts, mathematics, literature, sciences and accounting.

“We want to be practical and use technology that exists and really use the technology to their advantage,” says Bobadilla, comparing the digital libraries initiative to One Laptop per Child’s program in which they use their own, specially designed, low-power laptops with their own content and software.

The first school to benefit from this project will be the Colegio Pirizal in Bobadilla’s hometown, Puerto Casado, Paraguay. The high school has teachers but little or no other resources or educational material. The school currently has between 200 and 250 students. Right next to the high school is an elementary school, and eventually the project could potentially reach up to 600 children.

Future Kind has received lists of books from the schools and set up an Amazon Wish List where people can directly donate by purchasing a book for the school or even a Kindle Fire, which was chosen for this project because of it’s relative affordability while still having the desired technical capabilities. Future Kind is working with artists to design special cases for the Kindles and to come up with a system to track them and their usage to get feedback on how the resources are being used. They can then take this information and use it to design future projects. With enough donations, Future Kind hopes to reach the goal of having the Kindles ready to send to Colegio Pirizal by June or July of this year.

“It’s not just donating these books and creating a system for them to use them, but also getting involved in the communities we live in,” says Bobadilla.

At the same time, the organization is working on a local initiative they hope to have ready for this summer—free educational summer camps for kids. The camps would be geared mostly for high school age students and be designed to give them skills that they can take with them and use later in life. Topics for workshops include permaculture, yoga and music lessons. Future Kind is in conversation with various other local groups, such as the River School and The Salvagery, to help make this happen.

“Locally, the schools really don’t need that type of help around here,” Bobadilla says, in reference to the digital libraries initiative. “The problem here, from talking to teachers, is not really in school but when the students go home. We want to do workshops for low-income students or people that don’t have access to these kinds of things.”

Bobadilla has traveled, and he says those experiences have helped him out the most. By being thrown into uncertain circumstances, or being shown things he had been previously unaware of, made him think differently.

“It kind of opens your mind to a new possibility that wasn’t there before,” he says. “That’s the idea with these kids. Throw stuff at them that they aren’t used to and make them think. Then they can realize that joining a gang or getting pregnant at 15 is really not a cool thing to do.”

The percussionist from Drinking With Clowns, Camilo Prieto—who’s from Columbia and is also part of the organization—designed the logo for Future Kind. They’re currently looking for grants to apply for. Starting with big ideas and few resources themselves, they hope to eventually take Future Kind international and to open offices in different countries where they can work directly with the communities they are serving to create projects and address their needs.

“I’ve always wanted to do this and I never really had the complete set of skills to do it, I guess,” says Bobadilla.

With a degree in engineering, he has learned about designing and building. After sitting on the board for Nevada EcoNet for a couple of years, he learned about non-profits and how they work. As one of the founders of Reno Passport Magazine, he knows about marketing and networking, as well as coordinating people and meeting deadlines. And he teaches at the community college and is also a musician. With all of these different tools under his belt, Bobadilla finally feels ready to put them all in one place for Future Kind.

“This is the project that really has my heart behind it,” he says. “I really want to do it, you know?” “We want to change the world in a way. I know it sounds kind of cheap and cliché but … empowering people is the only way.”

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