Global Teachers, Global Impact


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IMPACT - JULY 12 2019

Every year since 2015, the Varkey Foundation has been hosting the most prestigious award-giving body in the field of education, The Global Teacher Prize. Considered by many to be the Nobel Prize for teaching, the Global Teach Prize honors one exceptional teacher annually with a 1 Million USD grant from the Varkey Foundation, a global charitable foundation geared towards improving education standards for underprivileged children. The Global Teacher Prize hopes to shine a spotlight on the exceptional work of teachers all over the world.

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This year, ten finalist were selected from more than 10,000 applications and nominations across 179 countries around the world. All of them are superheroes in their own ways. Today, we take inspiration from three (3) finalist who believe that the kids are capable of being superheroes themselves and have been empowering youth through education.

Debora Garofalo

Debora is a Brazilian Teacher from the Conectando Saberes network who works as a “Technologies for Learning “teacher at EMEF Almirante Ary Parreiras. The school is located on the outskirts of São Paulo, a community blighted by poverty and violence. The community also has an evident mismanagement of waste and issues with sanitation..

Determined to ensure the success of her students and their community, Deborah decided to take her classroom to the streets and allow her students to discover and map the problems of their local area. Through it, the Projeto Robótica com Sucata or Junk Robotics was born. It is an innovative take on combining the concepts of technology, electronics, robotics, creativity, play, and sustainability. Innovative solutions are being designed and built by the young learners using their knowledge of robotics and their deep understanding of current local issues thanks to Debora!

To date, more than 2000 students have been involved in recycling 700kg of waste to create toy robot prototypes through the Junk Robotics program. The idea has also been shared by Debora across the country through her regular columns in education publications and self-organized São Paulo Tech week.

Deborah believes in the possibility of transforming the youth into agents of change for a more sustainable and equitable world.

Daisy Mertens

Daisy is an all-subjects primary teacher of de Vuurvogel, Helmond, Netherlands. It is a community-based school of multi-national students with special needs. The majority of the students in the school are struggling with learning difficulties and face adversity due to their differences.

Being raised as a free-spirited student at a young age, Daisy has vowed to pay it forward and provide equal and personalized opportunity for every student in her country. She authored the High5 initiative which empowers young learners to claim ownership of their learning process and their environment to improve the quality of education and life. She does this by allowing her students to discover and see the world around them, empowering them to come up with fresh innovative ideas and create life-long decision. Students then plan their own learning objectives and regulate their own personal growth process with the class. Daisy shared this vision with the UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands.

One of the most notable activities of Daisy’s class was when they designed sustainable amusement parks and houses of worship for different communities and religions. Through these experiences, concepts of culture, sustainability, and religion are learned by students as they engage with the townspeople. Discussions are initiated by students and designs were made out of what they saw and felt in their visits.

Daisy believes that kids are equal partners in dialogue for creating a vision for themselves and their community now and in the future.

Peter Tabichi

Peter Tabichi is a Franciscan friar. He teaches Math and Physics at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Nakuru, Kenya. The school is situated in a remote village of Kenya’s Rift Valley with students hailing from seven different tribes. 95% of all students come from families living in poverty and a third of the kids are orphans.

Peter joined Keriko School in 2016. Coming from the private academe, he has seen the enormous difference of resources in his new school. Despite the challenge and the pressing famine in the region, Peter teaches his students and the community that science can be the tool for a resilient and sustainable community. He launched various projects and programs to support this claim and enhance the lives of his students and their parents. Among his initiatives are the Talent Nurturing Club, Peace Club, Science Expanded School Club, and Climate-resilient Crop Management.

Peter’s Science Expanded School Club was able to conduct award-winning studies and innovations on sustainable energy and inclusive aiding devices. They designed a solution to generate electricity from local plant extracts and sewage waste. This renewable energy innovation even won an award from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2017!

Peter believes that allowing students to have confidence and faith in themselves allows them to develop self-esteem and achieve more in life. Because of this belief, determination, and all the work he has put in, Peter was awarded the 2019 Global Teacher Prize Award!

Like Deborah, Daisy, and Peter, We believe in the power of youth to create solutions for their communities. Kids are naturally bright, creative, and innovative. But unfortunately, so many children are unable to reach their full potential because they lack access to high-quality education. That is why Axol and Friends invest in education through our partners, Zapotlan Ecologio and the Mirror Foundation. Together, we are empowering kids across the globe to be activists for sustainability, environmental conservation, animal rights, human rights, and social justice. Thank you for joining our movement!

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