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News 2 > Global Teacher Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize > Danny Bernales Sotomayor

Danny Bernales Sotomayor


Danny was raised by his grandparents in a disadvantaged community where education was scarce and opportunities limited. From an early age, his grandfather became his first instructor, teaching him not only to read and write but also to love learning. These first years awakened in Danny a desire for knowledge and improvement. As he grew, he experienced firsthand the challenges that many children from disadvantaged communities face. He studied in rural schools with limited resources, where a lack of educational materials and adequate infrastructure was the norm. However, despite these difficulties, Danny was inspired to dedicate his life to teaching – so that he could give other children the opportunities he did not have.

Since the beginning of his career, Danny has continually incorporated new methods into his teaching to ensure that his students learn with enjoyment. From 2010 to 2013, together with his colleagues, Danny managed to transform his school with teaching practices that went on to be nationally recognised. In 2018 he was elected Coordinator of the Vilcabamba Educational Network, where he led a project to promote reading habits in students and residents: this incorporated a reading hour in the main square where residents, teachers, children, parents, and neighbours all took part.

More recently, this project has been transferred (as the Ayllupi ñawinchay project) to Danny’s new school, Initial Educational Institution (IEI) 133 in Curasco. This is a challenging setting characterised by being a rural and disadvantaged community in terms of resources and educational opportunities. Students at this school face a number of personal, family, and social obstacles that influence their ability to learn and succeed academically. Many families struggle to cover basic needs; furthermore, the school faces a lack of adequate infrastructure – facilities are limited and not always in good condition, and there is a shortage of technological and multimedia resources. However, through the community reading project, children and their families are now developing their interest in reading. Reading Wednesdays have become an exciting event, when motivated parents come to school to read books to their children, and children actively participate. As a result, students have shown significant progress in their reading and comprehension skills. The implementation of family libraries has encouraged reading at home and created an environment conducive to development. These innovations have generated a 60% increase in reading levels, a 90% improvement in speaking skills, and a 50% increase in active vocabulary.

In 2019, Danny received the highest award given by the Peruvian state to a teacher ("Las Palmas Magisteriales"). In 2022, he won the IV National Competition of Educational Innovation Projects of FONDEP, with his community reading project from IEI 133. Danny is also helping his colleagues by creating educational content on his YouTube channel and Facebook page, sharing open courses and resources on how to develop and implement innovative education projects. If Danny wins the Global Teacher Prize, he will use the funds to extend "Reading in the Community" by installing reading kiosks in the rural communities of his province. Additionally, he would invest part of the money in purchasing books for his students' families, creating home libraries and promoting shared reading between parents and children.

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