It’s been almost a year since Rimma El Joueidi co-founded Teach for Ukraine, part of an international program that trains young professionals and graduates to become teachers.
The program, launched in February, selects and hires motivated young people with excellent knowledge of any school subject. After six weeks of training, they spend at least two years in a rural school in either Kyiv, Lviv or Kharkiv oblasts, teaching kids from the 5th to 11th grades.
The idea of Teach for Ukraine is to give all children from all parts of the country an education of the same quality, according to El Joueidi.
“I want to be someone useful and do something important for the future generations. If you don’t take care of yourself and your country, then the neighbor’s grass may really seem greener,” she says.
El Joueidi had an educational experience different from the typical Ukrainian one. She enrolled in the Future Leaders Exchange Program, or FLEX, in which foreign studies study for a year at an American high school. She always looked for opportunities. She joined the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program. For several months, she worked in an MP’s office in the Canadian Parliament. As a fourth-year student, El Joueidi took up management consulting, advising leading private companies and state institutions on strategic development and managing efficient operations.
She then focused on working in the public sector, communicating with ministries, municipal corporations in Ukraine and advising them on strategic development.
“At that time I got to know about Teach for All, a network that develops collective leadership in classrooms and communities around the world. A friend of mine suggested starting it up in Ukraine, and I agreed,” El Joueidi said. For more than a year, she and her team have worked to adapt the international model to Ukraine.
Soon after its launch, Teach for Ukraine received more than 300 applications from potential participants and over 130 applications from schools that wanted to invite teachers from the program. The approved candidates have been working in Ukrainian schools since September.
El Joueidi strongly believes that humans could solve many more problems simply by investing in education. When children from villages or poor families do not have a variety of opportunities, it affects not only the child’s future, but the future of the whole country.