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Start-up Corner: Building Schools for 264 Million Children

While millions of people contribute billions of dollars of donations every year, only a few of them know whether and how much of their money reaches the causes. And, those who do are shocked to see over 35% of every dollar consumed by overhead cost. Unfortunately, social impact has been characterized by inefficiency, bureaucracy, and lack of transparency. It needs to be fixed. What is your solution? We have been setting up as a for-impact organization. Through digital communication (think: no physical letters sent around the globe, but video updates of our partner’s progress), a high degree of automation, and fully voluntary work, we minimize overhead cost so that $1 of aid is $1 invested on the ground. In 2020, our overhead made up 2.2% of funds raised (vs. 35% of the largest German NGOs) which we offset out of our own pockets to truly deploy 100% of all donations for education. We further differentiate from large NGOs in that we help scale existing schools run by inspiring local leaders rather than setting up a project from scratch. We empower the local community instead of imposing Western values and culture onto them. The school belongs to the local community and will therefore never carry 264’s name or the name of large donors. How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your work? While the pandemic threatens jobs worldwide, it hits developing countries like Nepal and Uganda particularly hard. Their economies depend a great deal on exports and the hospitality industry, both of which plummeted this year. Besides, “work from home” is impossible for physical jobs and leads to loss of employment and income. It is at the core of 264's mission to provide kids with quality education and, at the same time, to elevate their entire community. We source local raw materials, hire local workers to build the classrooms, and engage local teachers and support staff to run the school long-term. By doing so, we invest in the children's future and the local economy. Who is the team behind your startup?

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