Global poverty is a complex web of interlinked problems. There is no one 'silver bullet' that will solve global inequality. Multiple contributing factors must be tackled in parallel. Yes, education alone is unlikely to lead to employment without economic reform to address the demand side in much of the developing world.
Made with Pencils is grounded in the creativity of a few, propelled by the financial support of many, and most importantly, it's empowering generations to come. A simple idea, a heartfelt desire, and a world of possibility. A pencil, a promise, and a dream.
There are many challenges in the global education ecosystem: from top-down systemic issues in how educational services are organized and delivered, to bottom-up issues of curriculum effectiveness, accountability, and human resource allocation.
Each of the bracelets I wear is from a long trip I've taken. One is from Nicaragua. One is from Nepal. One is from Guatemala. One is from Laos. They don't come off. I walk into a lot of very high-level boardrooms now, and I present to distinguished conferences, but these bracelets remind me of the places I've been and the people I've met.
We all have those things that even in the midst of stress and disarray, they energize us and give us renewed strength and purpose. These are our passions.
As our values are the core to who we are as human beings, they are also the easiest way to identify and connect with others in meaningful ways. Think about it - most political campaigns are based around values. Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign galvanized millions of youth behind two very clear values - hope and change.
My journey began with a single pencil. While traveling through India in 2006, I asked a boy begging on the streets, 'If you could have anything in the world, what would you want?' and he answered me with two words: 'A pencil.' Luckily, I had one in my pocket, and in the second it took me to give it to him, a defining dream was born.