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On October 11, the world observed the International Day of Girls: a day dedicated to raising awareness of the serious issues facing the world's 1.1 billion girls, and promoting their empowerment. It's an enormous issue–one that requires our attention far beyond that single day.

Each year, about 246 million children are harassed and abused either at or on their way to school. Girls are disproportionately affected, a reality that curbs their academic lives and makes it more likely they will drop out. But things are slowly changing: fully twenty-five million child marriages have been prevented, just in the past ten years.

These two things–ending child marriage, and working to make sur...

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Opportunities for education in many areas of sub-Saharan Africa are scarce, and more than one-fifth of primary-school-age kids do not attend school throughout the region. Not content to sit on the sidelines, an organization called Street Child is acting to provide solutions for sub-Saharan children.

And they haven't been slow to the task. In the last decade, the org has helped to educate more than 250,000 children, and helped over 25,000 families start their own businesses. Now they've even enlisted the help of the royal family: Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, became a Patron Ambassador of Street Child when the organization joined forces with Children in Crisis.

For more about this impres...

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Unless you work in the world of NGOs, you've probably never heard of Bangladesh's BRAC. But don't let that mislead you: the organization has close to 100,000 full-time staff, 8,000 working outside of of their home country. And in the last year alone, BRAC worked to educate more than a million children, and lent money to nearly eight million striving people.

One of the world's most highly rated charities, BRAC works across a host of categories: they've invested in a university, a bank, a seed company--even a chain of boutiques. And as a hybrid of charitable programs and businesses, BRAC uses their profitable operations to subsidize the remainder of the org. But as Afghanistan changes, their go...

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As a youngster growing up in California's Salinas Valley, Fabiola Moreno Ruelas dealt with more than her share of hardship. She saw her father deported, and her family routinely struggled with housing and basic needs, at one point facing eviction.

Fortune is fickle however, and Fabiola received $29,000 on her 18th birthday as part of an injury settlement. But when the young student started to thinking of how to spend the money, she realized it shouldn't be on herself. Fabiola set up a scholarship program instead, naming it after her mother: the Ruelas Family Scholarship. Once Fabiola had ironed out the details, applications poured in, and Fabiola awarded her first scholarships to four student...

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When Ali Takata and her husband moved to Austin from the San Francisco Bay Area three and a half years ago, she was immediately struck by the lack of diversity. "I was surprised by how white Austin felt," she says. But Takata soon realized that Austin wasn't particularly white--it was just very segregated.

Two years ago, the couple decided to move their daughters from the mostly white, affluent school they had been attending to a more diverse school in East Austin. It's a higher poverty district, and the new school doesn't have the same resources as the other school. But since learning about the history of segregation in Austin, Takata feels they made the right choice.

“I felt like I was...

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Here at Billions Rising we have always emphasized self-reliance, and solutions that empower those in poverty to better themselves and their communities. One organization that is doing great work in this area is Street Business School, a non-profit that works with other orgs to provide next-level entrepreneurial training for women.

For the past fifteen years, SBS has worked to help women become small-scale entrepreneurs--and their track record is remarkable. On average, women who graduate from the SBS program go from making $1.35/day to $4.19/day two years after graduation. Even better, 89% of their graduates have businesses of their own.

The organization has tested and evaluated their methods ...

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When she was just a second grader, Nujoud Merancy visited an air traffic control tower on a school field trip, an event that kindled the young girl's interest in aerospace; later, she was inspired by the Apollo missions. And incredibly, today she is working on an enormous mission of her own: sending the first woman to the moon by 2024.

Along with her colleagues Anne McClain and Holly Ridings, Merancy is part of a new vanguard of females in the aerospace industry. She serves as Exploration Mission Planning and Analysis lead for the Orion spacecraft that will execute the 2024 mission, and Ridings is NASA's first female Chief Flight Director; McClain just came back from a six-month assignment on...

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Peter Tabichi teaches science to schoolchildren in Keriko, Kenya, a region frequently blighted by drought and famine. His students come from very poor families, many having to go without adequate food at home. It's an often bleak landscape, and drug abuse, early school dropout and suicide are all too common.

According to UNESCO, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion in all of Africa; over one-fifth of children between the ages of 6 and 11 do not attend school. And Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School, where Tabichi works, has all the typical problems afflicting schools in the region.

But Tabichi's love for his students, and for science itself, leaves him undaunted by the...

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Last year, bicycle-sharing startup oBike ceased operations in Singapore, leaving the city with an inconvenient parting gift: thousands of abandoned bicycles, left behind in parks and other public spaces.

But to Myanmar entrepreneur Mike Than Tun Win, it was a problem with a simple solution. Why not distribute the bikes to poor kids in outlying villages so they could bike back and forth to school?

“It’s a common sight to see lines and lines of students walking long distances from home to school in rural villages,” Than told TechCrunch. “Some students can walk up to one hour from home to school....a school bus is almost unheard of to the students in rural villages.”...

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Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Aisha Bowe was the child of divorce, and dealt with many of the issues that come with the territory. She had a lack of self-esteem and scholastic problems that led to less-than-stellar grades, excluding her from consideration at a top school. But she soldiered on at community college, and there she met a teacher who challenged her to reconsider her gifts.

Inspired, Bowe was able to gain admission to Michigan University, and eventually her studies in Aerospace Engineering led to an offer to take her dream job: a position at NASA itself. This was a huge opportunity, being that black women account for a miniscule percentage of engineers in this field. Incredibl...

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