"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Thursday, August 9, 2007

International Education Giveaway Program Proposal

1. Table of Content

a. Project Overview
b. NGO Proposal
c. NGO Mission
d. NGO Vision
e. Background Information
f. Project Details
g. Benefits of the program
h. Financial Needs

2.Project Overview

An image is worth more than a thousand words. We have all heard this proverb somewhere, at some point in our life. But what if there was more than an image? What if there was a moment, a circumstance, an instant or a place that we visited that was worth more than a thousand images?

During my exchange at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in Singapore, I had the opportunity to learn and visit South East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. At the end of the exchange program, I decided to join an organism called “Thai Experience” to volunteer in some of the poorest region of Thailand. At the time, I had only a few weeks left before returning home, and I thought I should spend it doing something different than just travelling as an ordinary tourist.

When I started the volunteer work, I was amazed at how simple things I could do to make children happy. I was teaching English to classes from 8 to 14 years old kids.
I never thought I would really do this kind of work one day, but after I did it I realized how simple it is to help people. By living there, I understood their culture more, I built relationship with professors and students, and I understood the issues they were facing in their education system. One of issues was the access to information. They had a library with outdated books, and a computer room with very slow computer and Internet access.

I did not stay long enough to make any real impacts on their education life, but I believe my mindset has changed towards what I used to see on television about third world countries.

Television commercials show us pictures of children from poor countries. These pictures definitely affect us, and perhaps to the point where we decide to contribute by giving money or by doing some volunteering work like I did. If we cannot give back by giving money or doing volunteer work, the images we see have at least made us aware of the inequalities between rich and poor countries.

But what if these television commercials could do more than that? What if they would bring us there and make us feel the reality. How differently would we react?

3.NGO Proposal

I am proposing the International Education Giveaway Program, which is part of a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) newly named International Education Giveaway. Its primary focus is to bring the gap between workers and students of developed countries and children from third world and developing countries in terms of education needs.

Its objectives are to educate, create links, facilitate exchange, and make onsite contacts between children of developing and third world countries and workers from developed countries. These workers shall come from different professional fields such as accounting, business administration, engineering, law, architecture, etc... and shall not require any teaching experience.

Individually or in group, the workers/students must build a simple creative project to support the education of children from the countries chosen. The projects shall depend on the workers’ professional field and the specific needs in education of the chosen country.

There should be no limit as which countries can participate in the program, but the focus is on enhancing education by using cross-cultural experiences where workers and students from developed countries use their knowledge and creativity to teach useful material or setup education infrastructure in third world countries.

4.NGO Mission Statement

To allow children from third countries to receive free education services from people of developed countries. To force people of developed countries realize and understand the real problems and issues of education in poor countries by immersing them into this world.

5.NGO Vision

Enhance the quality of education for children from third world countries by providing the necessary material and knowledge to help them become the future leaders of the 21st century.

6.Background Information

Today, there is still an estimation of 700 poor people living in the Asia-Pacific region, and they are those that live on a $1 or less a day. Almost two third of the world population lives in Asia, and despite the rapid economic growth, many rural areas are still missing important basic needs such as good education services. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), this speed of growth is widening the gap between rich and poor. The poor have limited education, land, credit, and infrastructures while the rich are getting richer and richer [1].

Our children’s future is in our hands, and it is our responsibility to share our knowledge and experience so that they can develop the world in which they will grow. Further, we should not only favour our biological children or children from our country, but we should look beyond our borders, and share our knowledge with the children of the world. It is our tasks to educate all of them, and to show that the possibilities ahead are infinite.

The age of awareness is over, and the challenges for the 21st century are to help children at the global level.

7.Project Detail

This project can be implemented in two ways, first as a pilot project part of an university level project, which could be coordinated with student associations, and second, as a non-profit corporate program where employees actively participate by sharing their knowledge.

The University Pilot Project

i.The International Education Giveaway Program is not specifically focused on any region of the world, but since Asia contains two third of the world’s poverty, our pilot project could target one of the Asian countries.

ii.During the pilot project, students would travel to a third world country, and teach children in primary or secondary schools. The project would involve students spending from 2 weeks to 1 month abroad, and would involve intense research and preparation prior to departure.

iii.Students would teach children basic subjects such as English, Mathematics, Arts, and would promote cross-cultural awareness and communication exchange.
iv.During their stay, they should write a report on their experience, and on the current issues they experience. They should come up with solutions or views on how future problems can be solved.

The Non-Profit Corporate Program

i.The International Education Giveaway Program would allow employees from organizations to travel to developing or third world countries.

ii.The employees of the company would be appointed a school where they will decide which project they will create with the children.

iii.Prior to departure, employees should research on the current education system. Employees should understand the current issues and problems related to education, and they should come up with an interesting project to teach the children.

iv.They should create links with children, and develop a creative project where they can address basic needs of students.

v.Depending on the company’s involvement, the projects could use technological advancement such as the Internet to offer continuing service during and after the program to children. It could be a form of open source school, or open teaching environment where children can continue their learning experience.

8.Benefits of the program

a.Benefits to the hosting country.

i.Promote cultural exchanges between developed and third world countries
The communication exchange between students/workers and children should open up barriers and promote cultural exchange. Children would be aware of different cultures, and experience new ways of learning.

ii.Promote awareness of possibilities, future opportunities, and future challenge
Children would get a good insight into the current global issues and problems that developed countries are trying to solve towards their country. Children would get an idea on current global solutions that leaders of developed countries are trying to address within their country. They should therefore suggest future improvements, and ideas on how people can help their country.

iii.Receive basic education needs from people from developed countries.
Children would benefit from the quality and quantity of information that workers/student can provide.

b.Benefits to the student/employees

i.Allow employees to get new ideas for their work
By living in a different environment, new ideas and new mindset can be developed. This can also enhance employees/student creativity and work experience.

ii.Allow students to gain international experience
Students would not only learn by the books, but with real life experience.

iii.Allow employees understand the basic needs of poor countries.
By living in a third world country, they would experience and understand the needs of people living there.

9.Financial Needs

a.We understand that building this NGO would require massive financial aid. For the University Pilot Project, the financing should come entirely from the students, and the schools participating in the project. Although the costs of transportation can be quite high, the costs of living in a third world country are significantly low. Therefore, any university student from a develop country can afford to live easily in a third world country. For the non-profit organization program, the costs shall be entirely on the corporate hands, as it is also very beneficial to the company.

b.Other financial needs to run the NGO can come from charitable events or donation from individuals or organization interested.

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