Science & Technology

The robot behind bars supporting inmates’ social reintegration in Peru

Lima, Mar 18 (EFE).- Jovam the robot, a biodegradable android made of recycled electronic waste, has been admitted to Lima’s Lurigancho prison, the most populated in Peru and most violent in Latin America, to help teachers educate inmates.

After classes were suspended for two years due to the pandemic, some 1,225 inmates are attending weekly face-to-face classes with Jovam and their teachers to resume their primary, secondary or technical education.

Jovam can dance, answer questions on sustainable development and even speak German.

The robot serves as a “stimulus and didactic complement” to classes, its inventor and teacher, Walter Velásquez, tells Efe.

With a passion for robotics and technology, Jovam is not Velásquez’s first invention.

In the midst of the pandemic, he invented Kipi, the first robot capable of speaking the indigenous Quechua language and traveling on horseback through communities of rural Colcabamba, in the central Andean region of Huancavelica, to provide education in remote areas.

Like his “little sister” Kipi, Jovam was conceived at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters in the humble lab at the Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo school in Tayacaja.

The project was an initiative by DVV International, a German NGO that promotes adult education in Peru.

Jovam helps motivate and accompany the learning of the inmates to support their reintegration into society, director of DVV International in Peru, Walter Quispe, tells Efe.

Lurigancho houses 9,028 inmates, accounting for over 10 % of Peru’s 86,825 inmates.

“They have lost their right for freedom, but not the right to education, which is a human right,” Quispe says.

Nine million Peruvians over the age of 15 years old – 27% of the population – have not completed basic education, according to Quispe. EFE


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