I don’t know how, but every place I go to keeps getting better. I spent dawn to dusk everyday last week at Liger Leadership Academy, which is something truly out of this world. Some of the students are literally building and programming satellites that will be sent to space in 2020 to empower communities without access to internet. To do this, they established contact with members of NASA to act as their mentors and asked for advice for people they met at engineering competitions across the world. This is just one of many mind blowing student-led “explorations” that account for the majority of their learning experiences.
What stood out to me most however, wasn’t actually the clear brilliance of the students. To get into the school with a .75% acceptance rate, you have to display much more than just academic intelligence. These kids were the most compassionate, self-aware, curious, purposeful, and intrinsically motivated changemakers I have ever met. Why? Their learning is fun, relevant, and rooted in the understanding that this is something much bigger than themselves — a chance not only to become empowered, but to empower their family and the entire country of Cambodia. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Liger was built for every Cambodian that isn’t there; it invests in the right few, for the many. Approximately $1.7 million goes into the annual operations for 110 students to attend the 6-year program for free. A model I previously questioned for its selectivity, I now perceive as the best method of international aid I’ve seen. Instead of trying to scale — like most companies today — they put everything they have into what they can control and the impact is clear. Liger is so young that they have yet to have a graduating class, but I promise you that these kids will go onto change the world in ways that will simply leave us in awe. @ligeracademy