Arturo Soto

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2015


This profile was prepared when Arturo Soto was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Arturo Soto is using the ocean as a catalyst for change in young people, communities, and an entire city. Inspired by his personal experience with bodyboarding, which helped him recuperate from a life on the street and pursue new and constructive opportunities, Arturo is showing children and teens how the sea can transform their lives. Through his organization, Budeo, Arturo is generating a cultural shift in the city of Antofagasta, Chile, starting by changing the reality of the most vulnerable young people. Ultimately he aims to alter the way that the people of Antofagasta see their city, helping them value and develop its assets.

The Budeo Bodyboarding School attracts children and young people aged 8 to 17 from vulnerable situations. Arturo shows them through the practice of bodyboarding and classes to develop other skills that they are capable of controlling and changing the courses of their lives and their surroundings. Budeo School aims to help the body boarders discover their self-confidence and personal value, giving them the opportunity to move forward, and furthermore, seeks to transform the students into agents of change for their city.

Simultaneously, Arturo attempts to change the perception, of both locals and potential tourists, that Antofagasta is a mining town with a bad reputation and few attractions. To do this, he and the Budeo students are developing activities that allow people to explore another side of the city, such as snorkeling and whale-watching. He believes that the city must be made a tourist attraction and that when this is achieved there will be many employment opportunities beyond mining. His aim is to eliminate the conditions in which he grew up even if the transformation takes as long as 15 years. This transformation will be driven by his vision of the power of the sea as life changing and the use of bodyboarding as a tool for training social leaders . Budeo has already trained about 100 young people in Antofagasta. However, Budeo is working with Universidad Católica del Norte to systematize the training model and make it transferrable to other cities and towns worldwide.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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