|Mila Lukic and Eileen Knowles receiving their award during the Youth Award Gala|
I had the greatest pleasure to discuss with Miss Eileen Knowles about the Youth Award winning project Education Generation. She is the executive director of the project, and like the rest of her team, very dedicated to make the world a better place for everyone. Here's her interview:
Who are the core members of Education Generation?
Eileen Knowles, Executive Director
Mila Lukic, Partnerships Manager
Shawn Smith, Director of Operations
Christina Wu, Community Director
For those who don't know, could you tell why you started this project?
-One: We saw an inefficiency in the traditional child sponsorship model, with high overhead costs and high costs for donors.-Two: Traditionally the education for development sector has focused on need rather than potential and opportunity. We wanted to move away from pity-driven charity and give the donors the opportunity to understand more complete stories about the students they support.-Three: We saw an opportunity to focus not only on access but on quality education. The big question was (and still is): "How can we train the next generation of leaders to address the world's big issues?"-Four: We were interested in filling the gap of funding for secondary and tertiary education, since the governments and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) focus mainly on primary education.-Five: Many members of our team come from the "developing world" and were ourselves scholarship recipients; We'd like to extend the opportunities that were given to us to others.
How has the international community reacted to your project?
There's been tremendous support for the work we do. Our goal now is to extend our reach and are excited to be featured in this blog to receive further attention and feedback!
What has been the best moment for you?
I get joy from interaction with our students, when it becomes obvious that the work we do is worthwhile. Whether it is receiving an update from a scholarship recipient, meeting future scholars while traveling to Ecuador or reading updates from students... There are many instants through the year that we can consider the 'best'!
Do you also support some of the students yourself (by donating to their scholarships)?
Yes! All our team members are donors.
Where do you see yourselves going in the future?
We'd like to get more involved in discussions about innovative education. We are also preparing to launch new features on our website such as:
- Ability for individuals to launch their own scholarships in support of a particular student. For example, you might want to start a scholarship in the name of your family, town or school; We want to take the traditional scholarship approach (where institutions, families or endowments donate to students) to everyone.
- We are creating a platform for our partner organizations to share best practices to add value to their work.
- We are looking to launch and donate larger scholarships as our website traffic increases.
Something else you would like to say to the readers?
Please visit our website and consider donating as little as $20 to our students. Also, please share our work with your friends! Visit our sharing tool on our site to invite others to donate: http://educationgeneration.org/get-involved/ .We'd also love to hear from you, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thank you for your time, Eileen, and best of luck with your project in the future!
Education Generation facts:
More than 250 scholarships funded to date.
$100,000+ in early funding raised from corporate and private donors.
A constantly growing network of partners, already in Afghanistan, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Peru , Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Uganda.
Over 600 active online community members
3,000 + online following