Samuel Costa, winner of the 2021 ReachingU Prize for Uruguayan Teachers



February is a special month for teachers across Uruguay, as it is the time when we choose the school where we will work the entire year. February 2018 was no exception; it is when I chose to teach at school No. 29 in Lunarejo.


It was the third year in my career as a teacher; I would be in charge of a school a hundred kilometers from the city of Rivera, in a valley considered the fourth wonder of Uruguay. The place is surrounded by very special fauna and flora, protected by the National System of Protected Areas. Several families live in the area, including nine children who attended school No. 29 in the Lunarejo Valley.

These children in particular were isolated from many things, including information, news and other people. They were afraid; they feared rejection, but essentially, they rejected themselves, their situation, and their dreams. Those were feelings they had to bear.


In view of all that, I decided to find a way to motivate those children, trying to give them the tools they needed to comprehend that they can actually believe in their goals, that they can achieve them and attain whatever they set themselves to get. This is how the project “Telelunarejo” came about: a channel on the YouTube platform  where the children managed to showcase their classroom work in a number of videos that we would upload. This project helped us strengthen oral communication skills, linkages and all the areas and contents of the academic syllabus.


During the pandemic years, where the structures were modified, the tool that had begun as a complement to their classes, turned into a huge “battle chariot” that also intertwined the teacher-child-family bond.


This reinforced in me the conviction that we always need to do our best to ignite the flame of dreams that moves children to believe, because regardless of the situation, no matter how many times or how you fall, it is your beliefs that help you keep trying. Knowing that we will always have someone by our side who will help us get up and move forward drove me to implement this project. These ideas will continue to motivate the hearts of children, drawing smiles in all those that foster secret dreams.