Educate!’s programs are designed to give students the skills to solve poverty for themselves and their communities. We deliver our practical, skills-based model of education by partnering with existing secondary schools. The program model is driven by the amazing people involved – the students, mentors, and teachers in these partner schools, Mentor Emma.
In 2002 an American high school student, Eric Glustrom, visited a refugee camp in the poorest corner of western Uganda, this is when Educate! started. Among a range of contributions he made, from distributing anti-malarial medicine to filming a documentary, he felt most important need giving a young refugee named Benson a scholarship to go to school. At the same time, Benson was persuaded that he can solve the problems in his community by achieving a formal education that could change his life as well.
After coming back to U.S. Eric felt empowered by the opportunity to make a difference in young people’s lives in Uganda. He would be sharing Benson’s story all around and so to inspire others to help more youth like him. Eric was dedicated to put all the efforts to grow his impact bigger and bigger. Soon he recruited the second founder, Boris Bulayev, during their junior year at Amherst College.
Boris was a refugee himself who believed in giving other young people access to the opportunities he had found when he came to the U.S., remembers Eric.
Together, Eric and Boris travelled to Uganda. Meeting Benson as a student after struggles to stay in school because they couldn’t pay their school fees left them speechless. Here was the opportunity! Boris and Eric thought of the system how to transform classrooms into training grounds. Students would in this set up learn to help themselves. The best possible solution was teaching students leadership skills and techniques to start small businesses. The result? Students could not only pay their own school fees but would also have the skills and opportunities necessary to succeed after graduation in their own entreprenuership activities.
Eric and Boris hired our third founder Angelica Towne to craft this solution. Angie knew firsthand what it meant to be literally saved by youth organizations, growing up in inner-city New York. She had graduated from Middlebury College after writing her senior thesis on leadership programs she implemented in Jamaica and the U.S. Angie moved to Uganda, launching the first Educate! Experience model in March of 2009.
How is the education here provided differently?
Students in the Educate program, so-called scholars, are teenagers in secondary school. During the sessions, they are receiving leadership, entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness trainings. Moreover, they are as well being mentored to set up real businesses at school and later on in their own communities. Equipping the scholars with the skills to succeed is the core of the work of EDUCATE and what the educational model is built to do.
What are the Student Business Clubs?
The job market nowadays is very demanding and youth is facing lots of challenging meeting the requirements of the employers. Therefore, Student Business Clubs provide an experiential platform for students to acquire critical 21st century and business/employability skills that will enable them to meet the demands of the labour market or create their own jobs if that market fails them. It works on the recruitment by the students, so to say, Educate!’s Scholars recruit other students to join them in forming a Student Business Club. Students of the club are getting the support from the mentor and an Associate Teacher. With the help of these experts, students start one or more enterprises in a team. Students themselves prepare for the annual National Student Business competition, in the last term, which enables them to build on business skills they’ve learned like public speaking and presentation.