Uinspire Digital Academy: A path to empowerment
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What is the Uinspire Digital Academy

The Uinspire digital academy is a global education initiative. The academy aims to lift people out of poverty by offering digital, leadership and communication skills that have become vital in an increasingly globalised and connected world. The first digital academy in Sri Lanka will run an eight-week training course for local underprivileged 18 to 25-year-olds in Jaffna, in the north of the country. The academy will offer locals the tools needed to attain employment that is both financially rewarding and socially accessible.

The course will have a new intake of students every three months with the most successful of these students transitioning into trainer roles for future cohorts. They will be trained to instruct future iterations of the course that will be spread to other parts of the country, ensuring a regenerative ecosystem of digital skill building. In addition to the Jaffna academy, Uinspire will launch two other academies in the country over the next year. Our mission is to give every young person a chance to attain digital skills and lift themselves out of poverty.

Why is it important?

Simply giving money is rarely a lasting solution to poverty. What really makes the difference is giving communities something less tangible: empowerment. A lack of access to education and technology, and therefore employment, is a massive social barrier for the world's poorest. We want to break down that barrier by giving people control and the tools they need to create prosperity for themselves and their community. Uinspire Digital Academy will have a big role to play in ensuring that those born into poverty will have a share in the global prosperity created by technological innovation.

Who are we?

The Digital Academy is part of the broader Uinspire network, a social enterprise platform that connects philanthropists, entrepreneurs, inspiring leaders and volunteers to power world-changing projects. By taking a holistic approach toward tackling poverty, we are providing sustainable change. Our mission is to bridge businesses, charities, individuals and social impact organisations with a worldwide network to bring about positive economic, environmental and social change. We intend to build a sustainable future where even people in the most disadvantaged circumstances have the chance to live with dignity and make their dreams a reality. By placing integrity, transparency and trust at the very heart of our organisation, we aim to inspire future generations and build positive change within the global community.

Who are our partners?

The Digital Academy will be run in partnership with Samasource. Samasource is a social enterprise established by Leila Janah in 2008 that has been a trailblazer by providing much needed digital training and infrastructure to catalyze change. The company was founded with the mission to tackle poverty by providing work, specifically by outsourcing digital work, to both the poorest parts of the US and developing countries. A large part of Samasource’s success is in teaching people the necessary digital skills needed to earn a living wage.

 

Samasource was born out of the belief that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Samsource helps unlock opportunity for low-income people by sourcing data projects from some of the world's largest companies. Its industry-leading services helps clients achieve their business goals, while radically altering the life trajectory of our workers, who earn a living wage and lift themselves out of poverty.

Samasource is a pioneer in the field of impact sourcing, the practice of hiring people from the bottom of the pyramid to complete digital work.

By giving people training and a first job, they help them launch long-term careers that enable them to move out of poverty.

https://www.givework.org | https://www.samasource.org

 

What are we solving?

Tackling technological inequality

The digital revolution has benefited those of privilege to a greater degree than those in the developing world. While our quality of life has exponentially improved, the world’s poorest are being left behind. If this trend continues, the failure to adopt and adapt to new technology in emerging economies could exacerbate global economic division whereby just eight people own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people forming the poorest half of the global population. Therefore, it is indisputably the greatest challenge we face is to ensure the world's poorest communities have an equal stake in the digital future.

Driving digital development

The development of Sri Lanka’s digital industries is perhaps one of the single most important initiatives taking place in the country today and has the potential to lift millions out of poverty. As internet penetration and mobile technology adoption has grown at a rapid pace so has the potential to leverage these advances to the benefit of all communities. The Uinspire Digital Academy will have an integral part to play in building the most important part of Sri Lanka’s digital infrastructure: a well-educated and well-connected population. We will also leverage Uinspire’s network to give our academies access to worldwide industry expertise, peer networks and investors that can help turn their dreams into reality.

Giving dignity to poverty

At its core, the Uinspire Digital Academy is about empowering people. By helping people take control of their own training and employment, we are giving communities a way out of poverty that does not involve hand outs. Instead, people are given the dignity of work and a path for them to follow their own dreams.

Ensuring social equality

The drive to alleviate poverty through digital training also carries an additional social mission by prioritising the enrollment of women who would normally be excluded from the digital work due to gender discrimination. It is not enough to credit ourselves with achieving social and financial impact if we aren’t attempting to solve the huge problem of gender parity that still exists. As a provider of digital work, we have the opportunity to bring thousands of girls into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths in a sustainable way and we take that opportunity very seriously. By making equal access a priority from the beginning, we hope to empower local women, challenge traditional gender roles, and increase economic participation for the whole.

Why do we need your help?

At Uinspire we believe in giving a hand up not a hand down. That means we give people the means to lift themselves out of poverty by combining philanthropy with entrepreneurialism. This approach is more effective than traditional charity but it still requires investment either in the form of capital or time. Our academy requires equipment, full time staff, accommodation and expertise to keep it running. You can get involved by donating to this life-changing project by clicking on the “donate” button, or by offering your skills as a volunteer or mentor.

What your donation delivers

Activities at the Academy will include:

  • Free digital training and digital work simulations
  • Mentoring, leadership skills and language training
  • Digital skills for girls initiative
  • After school digital clubs
  • Holiday digital camps
  • STEM days and clubs
  • Event space to host technology and education meetups for students, local schools and local area

The funds will be used for:

  • Uinspire Digital Academy in Killinochi and Trincomalee
  • 30 refurbished laptops
  • Permanent office space, staff and furniture

 

Hear from our students

“I would like to see a world where we all have equal access to basic needs such as education, and I feel the Digital Academy is helping to bring us close to that goal”

- K.Thuvarakan, 23 years old, Student from Jaffna, Diploma in English

 

Hear from our Uinspire Digital Academy Team

“The triple bottom line of social impact initiatives.” Lauren says, “it is not enough to credit ourselves with achieving social and financial impact, if we aren’t attempting to solve the huge problem of gender parity that still exists. As a provider of digital work, we have the opportunity to bring thousands of girls into STEM careers in a sustainable way and we take that opportunity very seriously.”

- Lauren Huber, Head of Uinspire’s digital work initiatives

 

“In areas where women's travel can be heavily restricted, the ability to work remotely is a key tool in the push for equality,” Thadsha says. “Our hope is that every girl in Sri Lanka to have a voice and to have independence. By having access to digital skills, they are open to a world of opportunity”

-Thadsha Rasalingam, Head of Uinspire’s digital work initiatives, Sri Lanka

 

“Dreams are universal and opportunity is not. The core concept of Uinspire Digital Academy is essentially that technology helps us unlock human talent wherever it may happen to reside. That we should no longer be victims of our environment and no one should be stuck in a poor place where they don't have a job simply because of an accident of birth.”

-Dr. Kieran Arasaratnam, Head of Uinspire

 

Uinspire Fellows

If you donate over £250 you will become a Uinspire Fellow. This will give you access to all of our future Uinspire Global Leadership event leaders. If you have donated over £250 and would like your picture and donation to appear on our Uinspire website then contact:admin@uinspire.co.uk to have the page set up.

 

Uinspire Global Leadership Event with Leila Janah

Leila Janah is the founder and CEO of Samasource and LXMI, both ventures focused on using new sourcing techniques to reduce poverty. A Harvard-educated former management consultant, she has been profiled in the New York Times, Fast Company, Wired, Forbes, and Inc. She was named one of Conde Nast’s Daring 25 and Elle’s 2016 Top Women in Tech, and Samasource was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2016.

Join us for a conversation with Leila where she'll discuss her book, the Give Work model, and what she's learned building her two ventures.

Date: Thursday 11th January 2018, 6:00pm

Venue: The Great Room, The RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ, United Kingdom

BOOK NOW: www.uinspire.co.uk/Leila-Janah-Event

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Uinspire Foundation

Why Uinspire works with this partner:

The Uinspire Foundation was formed with the ambitious mission of making a meaningful global impact on the lives of those less fortunate.The basic premise of this foundation is that people across the world share a common dream, a universal right: and that’s the right to happiness.

 

It doesn’t matter where we live or what we look like. It doesn’t matter whether we are rich or poor. It doesn’t matter what our religious beliefs are. We have the right to live without fear. We have the right to a better education. We all have the right to a better life. These are bonds that link us all.