More than 10 years ago, Julia created her first alien cartoon character, Antennas, to build trust with children and to facilitate an accelerated consultation process. It worked immediately. A young girl began speaking with Antennas, confiding that she was being physically abused by her caretaker.

In its first decade, 10,000 children were helped. The cartoon has expanded to include a full cast of characters built for more specific aspects of a child’s mental health. It is currently utilized as part of child therapy in several hospitals and charitable institutions across Mexico.

Julia Borbolla

Ashoka Fellow Since 2008

Mexico
Five years ago, Borbolla expanded Antenas por Ninos' scope of impact and introduced the tool to legal authorities in Mexico, who have since gone on to use it in cases involving child witnesses. Judicial centers, including the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico City and numerous Women’s Justice Centers have adopted the methodology.

A pilot project, led by Pediatric Hospital of Iztapalapa and four government agencies,  is determining the efficacy of these children and cartoon interaction as leading to potential legal evidence in cases of violence or abuse, particularly in public day care centers.

As Julia’s program expands within and beyond Mexico, she is developing an Internet-based application to accelerate the scale, making it accessible to children who are immobile. But her core objective remains: to create the most powerful tool possible for countering the disturbing levels of violence and abuse that pervade Mexican society and help children lead productive, safe and healthy lives.

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