Dear Advisor Partners,
If you had told me 15 years ago that Big Five would be involved with deploying robots, I would have asked you what you were on and laughed off the notion. Well fast forward to late 2020, and that’s pretty much what happened. I was on a zoom call, as we all were during those early pandemic days, with one of our country managers in Peru. I was explaining to him about the needs of Peru in the underserved communities of Peru. We agreed to discuss the idea in detail when we were together in a few months.
May 2021, I was on the Pan American Highway heading from Chiclayo up to the Illescas Peninsula. We had three hours of driving to the edge of the Earth, or so it seemed. The discussion was focused on a gentleman named Walter, and Kipi. I didn’t know if it was the bumps on the dirt road, or the crisp Peruvian air, or maybe I was hallucinating. The conversation really got my attention as it centered around a school professor who had lost his income in one of the poorest parts of the Amazon when lockdowns began. Walter did something amazing in the midst of the pandemic. He taught himself robotics! Diego and I conversed in the car about Walter and I was able to see some footage of his work. Right on cue, I went from initially dismissing the idea as far fetched, and later that evening, as expected, the brain began rationalizing the idea as not so far fetched after all. In fact, the idea was downright awesome. You see the areas where Walter was sending these robots, delivering Kipi the robot in person by foot, mule or boat. The minute I met Walter, I could see his amazing work was going to impact so many, for whom, internet was a luxury they couldn’t afford.
When the first robot was deployed, it was a game changer. Primary school kids that were being pulled into darkness of crime and cartels were the target audience for Kipi. Little did we know that the robot deployment would serve as an actual resistance for these children, using the education Kipi provided as a means to remain engaged and grounded. A child who has no internet, can now learn from a robot carrying their entire school curriculum to replace a physical school. The best part? This robot speaks to these children through forms of AI Walter developed, that resemble early visions of Siri or Bixby. Who would have thought, a robot would save a child’s life in Peru. We at Big Five are so proud to partner with Walter and honored that his project was adopted by the Spirit of Big Five Foundation as an active project your journeys help support. Thanks to your support, Walter is now building mini robots to deploy in more villages in the Amazon Jungle.
You can hear the story of Walter and Kipi the Robot in more detail on our podcast – The Sustainable Voice and please enjoy a video Walter made just for this occasion, as he sends all of you a big hug and gratitude.