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  • 2013 Global Educator Award
    Malaika Foundation Gala

    First Lady of Tanzania and Kate Stevens 092713

    Kate Stevens was the very lucky recipient of a kiss from the First Lady of Tanzania when she landed in Omaha September 27th.

    OMAHA 9/27/2013: When the First Lady of Tanzania requested a visit to Opportunity Education in Omaha, Nebraska, the timing couldn't have been better. During that same time, the Malaika Foundation was awarding Joe Ricketts with their 2013 Global Educator Award. Her Excellency, Salma Kikwete, stepped up and agreed to speak at the Gala in recognition of her country's ongoing partnership with Opportunity Education which supports 453 schools in Tanzania.

    Mr. Ricketts, founder, benefactor, and CEO of Opportunity Education had been inspired by a trip to the Serengeti and a meeting with a driver named Shange. The driver was building a school, brick by brick. Mr. Ricketts asked to visit the school and from that experience, he developed a vision on how education could be used to better the chances for students, their families, their communities, and even their countries. It started with primary education, expanded to high school and is now on the verge of college. In addition to the program, which provides English medium DVD based lessons along with televisions and DVD players, a huge variety of educational tools, posters, books, and other classroom materials are provided for each school that participates in the program. The next big goal is to test the use of tablets in 2014.

    To further support the mission, Opportunity Education sponsors a free Sister School Program that connects supported schools with pen pal schools around the world. There are over 150 sister schools just in Nebraska that are linked with schools and students in 11 countries. This simple pencil and paper connection between students in developing worlds and developed worlds is a great way for students to start appreciating different cultures.

    The Gala Celebration of African Art, Cuisine and Fashion, co hosted by the Malaika Foundation and the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was held on September 27 at Quilt House, home of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. The gala was being held to raise funds for scholarships to support education abroad experiences for students. An earlier survey at the university had found that only 30% of UNL students had been outside of Nebraska and only 5% had been outside of the United States. They have a goal to expand that to 25% of students that have a global experience.

    First Lady and Dr. hatalie Hahn 092813 Dr. Natalie Hahn, alum of the college and native of Polk, Nebraska, worked with United Nations programs for 40 years, UNICEF, FAO, IFAD and the United Nations-New York. Her passion is to improve the lives of children and empower women in developing countries. She started the Malaika Foundation in 1997. Malaika, a Swahili word from Kenya, means "my angel". It is her belief that teachers need to travel globally to be more effective teachers.

    During the past seven years, Malaika Foundation has provided global training for over 3,500 teachers and provided 68 global educational fellowships. In tandem with the Gala celebration, a full-day workshop entitled "Viewing English Education through a Globalized Lens" was held on Saturday for English education teachers and pre-service teachers. Her Excellency, Madame Salma Kikwete, also spoke at the workshop bringing her vision and experience, including 20 years teaching, to inspire the attendees.

    First Lady of Tanzania092813