Understanding International Social Enterprise (5) – Education Empowerment

Education has been regarded as the most long-term solution to poverty in the developing world, as it provides low-income people with essential skills and resources to increase financial self-sufficiency and even generates social mobility. Education impact can take the form of several programs such as out-of-school education, education financing, vocational training, and access to education.

Examples include organizations like Digital Divide Data which trains economically disadvantaged students in Cambodia and Laos to gain outsourced IT jobs; Lumni, Inc. which offers higher education financing and career services to low-income youth in Chile and Colombia; and Teach a Man to Fish which enhances vocational schools' needed skills to deliver a product or service of marketable quality.

Also, according to a Beyond Profit Social Enterprise Survey Report published this year (2010) to investigate India's social enterprise landscape, education is the only sector with a track record of profit. More than half of social enterprises working in the education sector grew over 50% in 2009. The report concludes that, based on its financial stability and growing potential, education could become a sustainable business model in the future! Of course - this note is not applicable to all developing countries and should be considered food for thought.


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