Dolly Singh hails from the Bhatpur, India. Dolly had to leave school because of the distance to the senior school. Her parents did not want to take the risk of sending her that far every day. Dolly wants to be a teacher but she cannot afford the education. Dolly is just one of the many students who can only dream of becoming something but never realize those dreams. According to a 2011 UNICEF report on the state of adolescents worldwide, 1 of 5 is not in school. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where The School Fund began its work, that's 1 in 3.
It was the year Matt Severson (18 years old) had graduated from high school. Matt and his parents were in Karatu, Tanzania celebrating his high school graduation when he first met 14 year old John Medo. John’s dad is a carpenter and his mother embroiders clothes and also runs a vegetables-drying business. As for John, he was cutting grass in the fields to earn few shillings to help his family till he met Matt. He had passed his high school entrance exam but his education cost $150 which his family could not afford. John wants to someday become the President of Tanzania. Matt understood the aspirations and dreams of a bright kid who could not pursue his dream by virtue of being born in a poor country. Before returning home, apart from becoming John’s friend for life, Matt also raised the money needed for John’s high school education. More importantly, Matt decided to do something that could permanently change the lives of students like John world over. Matt Severson started The School Fund in 2009.In December 2010, The School Fund obtained 501(c)3 status as a legal nonprofit. Currently funding over 500 students, The School Fund provides donors with an online platform to fund students in other parts of the world. Through partnerships with other non-profit organizations that support education, The School Fund supports students in several countries including India, Tanzania, China, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Philippines and many more.
“Although, we are non-profit organization, we like to see ourselves as an enterprise with a product – our website,” says Matt Severson, Founder, The School Fund. While the operating cost of the website is taken care of through the contributions from family foundations and Google. The School Fund website aims at providing a transparent platform for donors through direct sponsoring, accountability through scanned school receipts and direct donor-student correspondence through the online journal on their website.
Graduating from Brown University, Matt currently works in the Education Outreach Team of Google. He runs The School Fund part time with one full time and one part time member in the US, two full time paid employees in Africa apart from a group of dedicated volunteers. “Our goal is to become the place to send to kids to school in other parts of the world – the one-stop-shop to fund the kids in other parts of the world,” shares Matt Severson.
As for John Medo, he has completed his high school funded by The School Fund for the last three years. John is on the road to becoming the President of Tanzania while The School Fund continues to support students making their dreams come true.
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