In 2010, on a personal trip to Ethiopia I found myself in an orphanage faced with the stark reality of poverty on a scale that I never would have imagined. Something happened to me on that trip that would alter the course of my life forever. I left Ethiopia with one lingering question. What can I do to make a difference in the lives of these children and others like them around the world?
As a teacher I knew the importance of education. While in Ethiopia I saw the need for education in a way that has never left my mind. There were so many school-aged children spending their days panhandling in the streets. According to UNESCO, 61 million primary school-age children were not enrolled in school in 2010. 47% were never expected to enter school, 26% attended school but left, and the remaining 27% are expected to attend school in the future. I came home determined to figure out a way to help provide easier access to education for children in the developing world.
I have always believed that the surest way to change a life is to provide a person with a quality education. They say if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach him how to fish he will eat forever. I wholeheartedly agree, but feel that if you give a person a well-rounded, formal education that you not only change that one life, but generations of lives to come. In developing, low-income countries, every additional year of education can increase a person's future income by an average of 10%. Educated people are also far more likely to find the means to educate their own children.
As I researched global education initiatives, I found a community of like-minded idealists within my own circle of friends and acquaintances. My new found friends and teammates were world travelers who had seen enough poverty that they were motivated to find ways to help the children of our increasingly smaller world. The puzzle pieces seemed to fall together almost as if by fate, and the result is our non-profit organization, Rise Up, Inc.
We were recently presented with the opportunity to rebuild a dilapidated school in rural Ghana. Students and teachers are working in buildings made of sticks, with no roof to protect them from the blazing African sun. They refuse to let the condition of their school stop them from educating the children of their village and the surrounding communities. We are excited to begin our work and create improved educational opportunities for these children as well as children in other locations around the globe.
Founder & CEO