Empowering Young Changemakers Through Entrepreneurship and English Education

Photo of Urvi Alamela
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Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Website: http://www.1000booksfor.org/ Instagram: @1000booksplus

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

We are tackling the inequality that exists for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and/or rural areas through the lens of education and changemaking. We want to teach students the principles of entrepreneurship and English so that they can make a difference in their community and later teach other students. We ultimately want to create a self-sustaining network of teaching and empowering. We are focused on educational sustainability.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

1000books+ is more than just books. We are a for youth, by youth 501c3 nonprofit organization that empowers young changemakers in underdeveloped areas through various education and entrepreneurship initiatives. Education: Through our book initiative, we collect books (current count is over 25,000+) that are redistributed to rural/undeveloped areas (including suburbs of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Monterrey, Mexico, China, Mongolia, India). We tutor English teachers, working with teachers from all 49 counties in Inner Mongolia (350+ teachers). Our audio curriculum (readings of books) allows ESL learners to improve their comprehension skills. Entrepreneurship: We host international conferences and webinars, inspiring youth to use the UN SDGs to solve issues in their communities. Our latest initiative, Project195 is a toolkit aimed to teach social entrepreneurship to youth from all 195 countries.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Five years ago, Melissa (founder) began collecting books for her cousins living in rural Inner Mongolia, who didn’t have the necessary resources to learn English. In addition, their classrooms contained sparse textbooks. Noticing this discrepancy, she began collecting books (25,000+ collected), but books no longer felt like enough. “Last year, after getting involved in social entrepreneurship, I quickly noticed there were no resources for youth who wanted to create their own projects, especially if they lived in developing countries. For teens with ideas, I want to help them turn their dreams into reality. I wanted to create an organization where youth could collaborate internationally to become the next generation of global changemakers, through education and entrepreneurship." - Melissa

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Meet Robert, a Liberian teen who attends our 2019 Youth Changemakers Conference in Monrovia, Liberia as part of our entrepreneurship initiative. He is inspired by speakers, including the Deputy Minister of Liberia who played an instrumental role in fighting Ebola in Liberia. Robert masters our developed curriculum, produced in partnership with African nonprofits. He spends a week meeting other changemakers and learns how to use the UN Sustainable Development Goals to solve problems in his community regarding gender inequality, poverty, and lack of education. Robert is inspired by everyone he meets at the conference, so he decides to plan his own 2019 Changemakers Summit in Liberia, winter of 2019. Robert isn’t the only teen inspired to create change. Emmaneul organized a Margibi County committee to fight erosion-creating waterways, and Tronkon started an NGO, National Labor Eye Liberia.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

We are the only 501c3 that works with Mongolian youth in underdeveloped areas in China, Mongolia, and Siberia. With an emphasis on sustainability, we tailor our approach to student needs in different countries. For example, in China we directly train teachers, helping them practice spoken English. As we are for youth by youth, we visit countries personally to distribute books. We tackle our issues through many lenses: teaching English, donating books, tutoring teachers, creating an audio curriculum, and hosting conferences and webinars. We don’t just seek to help, we seek to empower.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We recently hosted the first-ever community organized, week-long 2019 Global Youth Changemakers Conference for over 160 Liberian youth. Through a competitive application process, participants were able to brainstorm solutions to implement in their communities, based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Featured in over 12 Liberian media outlets, we were able to make our conference free for ALL youth, thanks to sponsors. We also launched a series of one-day entrepreneurship workshops in Liberia with local entrepreneurs as guest speakers. Through our English education projects, we are impacting over 400 teachers and 35,000 students. We work in the US, Mongolia, China, India, Liberia, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Mexico, and Russia. Through our ambassador program, our 20+ international ambassadors collect books and spread 1000books+ initiatives in their local areas.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Our biggest goal right now is to expand the #Project195 Initiative. We’ve partnered with entrepreneurship organizations on curriculum development. We plan on creating a community online that increases accessibility to changemaking materials. Our goal is to educate youth from ALL 195 countries in the next three years to create their own initiatives. We’ll continue planning youth conferences, as our next one will be held in Detroit, Michigan in spring of 2020. We also hope to expand our work in Africa. By the end of 2020, we will be in 9 countries in Africa, starting with Liberia and Ghana. We work with REHAB Africa, African Methodist Episcopal University, and the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia to empower youth.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Plan & Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 33.3%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 50%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Aiko Ma

I really love your idea of nurturing the entrepreneurial culture. I am very excited to see how your organization will grow and impact more people from around the world!

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