José Adolfo Quisocala, a very young banker
José Adolfo Quisocala is a very young banker

José Quisocala — Helping children go back to school

The young Peruvian banker launched the Banco del Estudiante at seven years old.


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The third edition of the Young Activists Summit #YAS21 took place in November 2021 in Geneva. The event is organized by the UN to award six exceptional young people from around the world who have achieved concrete changes for their communities and the environment. 

Among the six honorees was José Adolfo Quisocala, a 16-year-old Peruvian who, at the age of seven, founded the first bank for children in his hometown of Arequipa. 

His idea was simple: in exchange for depositing solid recyclable waste — from used notebooks to plastic or cardboard bottles — the children receive money to pay for food, school or whatever they want.

"Really, what motivated me was to see a reality that we see every day in our cities, which are children working, to see that children often do not have to go to school, many children do not eat properly. When I realized that they really have many needs and also realized that adults were not doing anything to solve this problem, then I understood that I had to do something myself and get down to work," explained the young Peruvian entrepreneur in a video interview published on the social networks of #YAS21.

Today, the Bartselana Student Bank has around 6,000 members, all between the ages of 10 and 18, and it offers them everything from loans to micro-insurance and other financial services. It also recycles some 20 tons of material per month. 

The bank not only promotes sustainability, but also helps children in Arequipa to better manage their money.

"I remember at my school there were kids who skipped lunch because they had spent their money on candy or soccer cards," Quisocala also explained in the video.

In 2018, he received the Children's Climate Award. He was also considered one of the 25 most innovative bankers in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019 and 2020. 

A French documentary called Demain est a nous (The future is ours, released in 2020), tells the story of his life and of other children activists for the environment.


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