Vote for the Escuela Agricola!
Great news! The Escuela Agricola de San Francisco made it to the finals of the BBC World Challenge--a top social innovation competition! Now you get to vote to help them win!
All the projects featured in the World Challenge this year are fabulous ideas driven by remarkable people. If I wasn't so shamelessly biased, it would be hard to choose. Seriously though, here's why I think EASF should win:
The self-sustaining school movement is all about empowerment--treating the poor with dignity and providing them with the only thing they really lack; opportunity to apply their intelligence and their energy to gain skills to change their lives and the lives of their families and communities. EASF is doing that. I've seen it. I've seen shy, nearly silent farm boys grow into agribusiness mentors giving presentations in the capitol. I've seen girls whose friends have all been pregnant before age 16 finish school and go on to study nursing, planning to open a clinic in their home-town then settle down to raise a healthy family.
But EASF doesn't stop there. Perhaps the best thing about this idea is that it's so scalable; projects are already underway to build up half a dozen more self-sustaining entrepreneurial schools and the organization has committed to 50 schools in 50 different countries by 2018, with each of those core schools serving as a replication hub to spread the liberating power of literacy, and vocational/entrepreneurial training further and further into the strongholds of poverty around the world.
San Francisco has proven that it can be done--and now organizations and communities around the world have a strong model to follow and willing mentors to help them succeed.