“My life’s mission is to help people”says Amanda Vickers, Speak First CEO.
A mission she has been passionate about since an early age and throughout her professional career, Amanda fiercely believes that education and learning are the foundation of a life worth living.
Amanda’s vision is the ethos that drives everything we do here at Speak First, inspires our work, and it’s the reason why the Speak First Foundation was founded in 2013.
Previously donating a percentage of its revenue, from this year Speak First will donate a percentage of its net profit (currently 2.5%) to the Foundation. So far, the Foundation has sponsored projects helping children in Africa, India and Bangladesh.
As we consider education the key to a better future, partnering with The Floating School in Bangladesh was a natural fit. Together we bring vital learning resources to some of the children who need them the most.
The Floating School project in Bangladesh – how it started
Data from the Unesco Institute for Statistics (UIS) shows that the literacy rate in Bangladesh has risen significantly over the past ten years.
However, there are areas in the country – such as the Kishoreguni basin – where villages are cut off by flooding during the monsoon and post-monsoon seasons, leaving over 90% of local children without access to any form of education.
Inspired by the success of the first mobile floating school launched back in 2009, a new floating school project was developed to meet the needs of other communities in the river basin region. In 2012 Learning for Life was awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to continue funding the services aboard the existing floating school, and to build and run an additional floating school, both with healthcare facilities. The Speak First Foundation was delighted to contribute to these two larger projects from 2015.
How the Floating School project is evolving
Pockets of the river basin areas have been identified to be so isolated during the flooding season, they cannot be reached by the existing floating schools. A new smaller floating school aboard a single decker boat has been therefore launched. Acting also as a resource centre, this boat will ensure children in the region will have access to education throughout the year.
Donations by the Speak Foundation will fund the teacher’s salary, learning resources and the running and maintenance of this boat for an entire year.
Thanks to this project 25 children (aged 7-14) and 30 adolescent girls (aged 15-18) will have access to quality education and will be able to sit government accredited exams that will enable them to go on to secondary school or seek safe employment. The floating school will represent a focal point for the community, and empower the entire population through social awareness education, health and hygiene information.
At Speak First we feel privileged to be able to give back thanks to the work we do with our clients. We are committed to continue to live our values through our partnerships with clients and bring prosperity to those who need it most.
We’ll continue to share news of the projects the Speak Foundation contributes to on this blog.