5 min read
It is unlikely that here you often read news from Russia. However, this does not mean that nothing interesting for you happens here!
The new international Rybakov Prize is on a lookout for outstanding social doers, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs who have developed school and preschool education in their village, city, region, or country. Three finalists will share an award fund of $1.2 million.
Now, Asia is the cradle of new social practices and the place of activity of powerful philanthropists. We want these people to gain global public recognition and inspire others to act and succeed in this crucial area, by providing quality education for all.
We focus on school and preschool education — we invest in the future
My husband and I have been operating the Rybakov Foundation, a private non-profit organization, in Russia for the last four years. When we founded it, we immediately chose a broad path: supporting educational initiatives and holding competitions for teachers. Now many of our initiatives are operating successfully and autonomously.
The experience we gained allowed us, in 2019, to evaluate our direction and focus on what we are really strong in. They are preschool and school education.
Why school and preschool? These years represent a unique period of life, in which our children’s personalities are being formed as they understand their strengths and capabilities. Therefore, investing in school and preschool education radically increase the social impact and return on investment.
Rybakov Prize: examples that inspire us
When you start doing something, it seems as though you are alone, and around you are problems that you must solve by yourself. However, the more you work, the more you meet like-minded people. Entrepreneurs, businessmen, philanthropists who, on their own initiative, due to a call from the heart, support education and are looking for effective solutions.
I will give some examples
An entrepreneur from Yoshkar-Ola (the capital of one of Russia’s regions) created an IT company and its products are used by corporations around the world. After he achieved success in his business, he created two non-profit IT schools in the region, where children learn programming and engineering, and lower-income families can receive a discount of up to 100%.
Another example comes from the Caucasus, a southern region of Russia, in which three family generations – a school teacher, an entrepreneur, and a university graduate – are engaged in a joint activity. In a small mountain village, they opened an education center where children are engaged in innovative studies through immersive pedagogical approaches. By inviting experts to teach, the center has created an environment where children not only gain skills and knowledge, but also learn to communicate and work together.
Inspirational stories are associated with the creation of endowments in schools. For example, in the Moscow region there is a scientific and engineering school. Seven graduates of the school from different years came together and created an endowment, invested their personal funds, and helped with fundraising. However, an endowment is not only about money: it helps to gather an active community around the school with the participation of graduates, entrepreneurs, and parents. Graduates regularly come to the school, share their experiences with students and help them to determine their life goals.
Such stories inspire our team! Since they inspired us, it means they can inspire others.
That is why we launched the international Rybakov Prize, with the support of The World Bank and UNESCO IITE. With applications from all over the world. we want nominees to get to know each other, strengthen each other, and become role models for others. This way, we can drive a transformative wave that contributes to the 4th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals – Quality Education.
Tell us about your contribution to education in your village, city, region, country, or nominate a candidate!