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In Sweden math education for children has stagnated, with math often perceived by young students as something alien, difficult, and irrelevant. A downward sloping performance curve in the Swedish school system has resulted in a substantial gap between what skills the working world demands from their employees and what skills children possess.
Marginalization is one of the main factors contributing to the cycles of unemployment, violence, and social unrest in impoverished urban and suburban areas. Allaoui Guenni is using sports as a catalyst to bring down the walls surrounding local populations, build bridges to employment and social integration, facilitate conflict resolution, and ultimately pacify relationships within society.
Through short sessions of playful reading and writing practice, Beatriz Diuk is catching up illiterate children with their peers and alleviating frustrated teachers by providing them with simple tools to address this gap. By approaching the problem of illiteracy as one of the education system, not as an inherent quality of “poor children,” she is changing perspectives and turning those who are furthest behind into successful learners.
Jean-Claude Decalonne is providing struggling French pupils in at-risk neighborhoods with the tools they need to succeed academically and socially. By engaging parents, teachers and the broader community in supporting and developing young people’s potential, he is showing society the value of alternative paths to education and success for children.
Abdellah Aboulharjan is developing the skills of young people in segregated French suburbs to overcome the isolation and poverty of their neighborhoods and become successful entrepreneurs. By mentoring young people to develop their self-esteem and competence, he is creating new role models who are motivated to help rebuild their communities.
François Taddéi is breaking away from the elitist, top-down, and conservative model of the French education system that fails to prepare students to innovate and meet the complex challenges of a changing world. François is reinventing high school and college science education and laying the ground for a renewed, democratized knowledge industry.
Simon Houriez is establishing a common ground for learning for both deaf and hearing members of society, and by doing so, is fostering equal citizenship. He refuses to admit that for the deaf to be educated and recognized in French society they must adjust to the communication paradigms and the education system of the hearing.
Poor children suffering from chronic illnesses in Philippine public hospitals experience extreme stress and pain. Families and hospital staff also suffer from the physical demands of caring and the emotional strain of treating children with serious, often terminal, conditions. Maria Fatima “Girlie” Lorenzo is transforming Philippine public hospitals by creating a national system for psychosocial support for indigent patients, their families, and caregivers.
Nicolas Metro is redefining forest preservation as a human development issue, one that reaches far beyond environmental conservation. By positioning trees as central actors in creating economic opportunities and addressing social issues, Nicolas develops simple ways for companies and local communities to find common ground where entrepreneurial solutions are encouraged to flourish.