A brief History of Education Is Power – How did this all start anyway…
Photo (left to right): Olivia Forte, Samuel Wakang’u, Lynn ann Lauriault, Dave Cuddy, In front: Stephen Kamau
EIP Co-founder Dave Cuddy writes:
Education Is Power has grown out of the Canada World Youth international educational program, taking place in North Bay, Ontario; Kiambu, Kenya; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2006-2007. I believe strongly in this program as a way to empower young people to pursue just, and harmonious societies. As part of the program, I was lucky to gain two Kenyan host brothers named Stephen Kamau, and Samuel Wakang’u. Along with our Canadian host sister Olivia, we lived together with a wonderful woman named Lynn-Anne, who was our host mom during our first three month phase in North Bay, Ontario.
From here, great friendships and understanding were fostered and continued to grow as we shifted to East Africa. We were fortunate to live with amazing local families in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, where we volunteered with various local organizations and participated in educational workshops, learning to become responsible global citizens. Canada World Youth taught me that as a Canadian, I have power and privilege that the majority of the world does not have. And better yet, the program helped give me the determination to use this power to help make a better world.
In February 2007, when I finished my Canada World Youth program, my Kenyan counterparts and I did not start Education Is Power right away. We began to work together on a proposal to start an outdoor education centre in Kenya for Kenyan youth. After working on this, we realized that this kind of undertaking would be much better achieved with a post-secondary education. The problem was that the price for college or university in Kenya was far too high for my Kenyan team members to afford. So in January 2008, while I was studying at Université Laval in Quebec, I met with Maxim Fortin (also a CWY alum), and we discussed how we could create an organization to advance education in East Africa. Maxim helped develop the EIP website, and I organized Education is Power’s first fundraising event which took place in Quebec City in April 2008. In the process, I collaborated with David Kuria, CWY East Africa Program Director from Kiambu Kenya, to define the structure, mission, and vision of Education is Power. From here David Kuria, Samuel Wakang’u, Stephen Kamau, and I joined together to form Education Is Power. And the story continues….
A note on Canada World Youth – The exchange program that helped lead to Education is Power
Founded in 1971 by the Honourable Jacques Hébert (1923-2007), Canada World Youth (CWY) is a world leader in developing international educational programs for young people aged 15 to 35. A non-profit organization, CWY is dedicated to enriching the lives of young people that have a desire to become informed and active global citizens. CWY programs are designed to help youth experience the world for themselves, learn about other cultures and diverse Canadian communities while developing leadership and communication skills. Since 1971, the CWY program has been completed by over 35,000 young people from 67 countries.