Julia Borbolla

Ashoka Fellow
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Fellow Since 2008


This profile was prepared when Julia Borbolla was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Julia has developed a groundbreaking approach to child psychology that transcends traditional methods of therapy. With her multimedia program, Antennas for Children, she is reaching out to thousands of traumatized children who have not made progress with professional psychologists as well as those who lack adequate access to care altogether. Using an animated character controlled in real time by trained therapists, her program is successfully breaking down natural communication barriers between children who have experienced traumatizing life events and the health care professionals seeking to help them. Julia’s method of child therapy is an innovative approach to engaging emotionally traumatized youth, and it has enabled psychologists to forge important connections with their patients, resulting in more fruitful therapy sessions. Once a child has expressed their feelings to the character the therapist is able to reflect back to the session indiscreetly and better decipher common themes and approaches towards intervention. At the moment, Julia is expanding her work to pilot projects throughout Mexico City. For the last year she has set up mobile care centers that are run by trained professionals so that the characters can be brought to day care centers, hospitals, and government agencies. Antennas for Children is also in the process of being recognized by the Secretary for Social Development in Mexico City as a viable therapeutic tool to be used in city-wide government institutions.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


Recently, Julia's emphasis has been to make "Antennas" a vital tool in every childcare institution, so that children have more appropriate and innovative ways of expressing their fears, worries and anxieties. This has also been established in justice institutions where children are questioned about cases of child abuse and maltreatment. We aim to respect the child's developmental stage and to have these questions asked by an individual with whom they feel confident. The motto is "children shouldn't have to keep secrets which hurt".

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