After many teasers, I can finally let you guys know what’s going on! In a week, I am heading to Bangalore with fantastic 40K Globe to set up an education facility. It is crazy that it is all happening so soon! I am currently a weird bundle of excitement and nerves.
As you may know, I am trying to create a future which involves travel and medicine, but also social impact. University and blogging have given me insight into medicine and travel, but not as much about social enterprise. So, I am beyond enthused to learn more about creating sustainable impact around the world. The fact that this is exactly what 40K Globe is doing is really exciting and creates the perfect partnership.
So, who is 40K Globe?
40K Globe was founded in 2005 by two university students wanting to tackle education to rural India. The business model has changed a lot over the years, evolving and adapting to get better outcomes for the students. 40K works as a social business rather than a charity, creating lasting and scalable social change. This is really what sets 40K apart and makes it future-focused.
The 40K PLUS project is for groups to start PLUS Pods. A PLUS Pod is an educational facility in a community providing after school English education for children using tablet technology. The project works to even the educational playing field, giving more kids, more opportunities. To get these PLUS Pods up and running, 40K has university students from all over Australia come to India for a month to start up facilities. The 40K Globe experience works as an internship and unit in social enterprise for university students rather than voluntourism. This model is a unique way to integrate university, cross-cultural experience, and social change.
If you want to know more details, the 40K website has loads of information about the company, the projects and their impact. The website can be found here 40kglobe.com.au.
What exactly will I be doing with 40K Globe?
Over the month in India, I will work with my team to set up a PLUS Pod in rural India. This will involve finding an educational space, making it useable, helping to find local staff to facilitate when the Pod is open, and finding interested students to take part. It will be a lot of work, and a really different experience to what I’m used to at home, but will be incredibly rewarding to see it opened and making an impact. Each team works with one community over their time which provides an awesome opportunity to discover the intricacies of each community and figure out how best the PLUS Pod will work.
As well as taking part in the project of opening up a PLUS Pod itself, I will be documenting the experiences on Travel Textbook. Hopefully this will show other university students what the experience is like, but will also highlight the region and what it has to offer. There will undoubtedly be a bajillion stories and experiences to share!
Am I excited?
Oh yeah, I’m excited! It is an incredible opportunity to work with a company you respect, on a project you strongly believe in. Getting back to India is exciting, too. India, being a country of such colour, culture, and unpredictability, is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. It’s going to be very different to my last trip there which was a whirlwind tour of Northern India. This time it is a month in the one community in the South. So it really feels like an entirely new experience. As I have been craving a return to slower and more engaged travel experiences, this has come at the perfect time.
The 40K project itself looks to be successful, sustainable, positive, and open to evolving. Helping to scale up an education business, rather than typical voluntourism, is exciting. It is providing jobs and education to local communities by opening a new Pod, and I am ready to help in this success. This opportunity works more like an internship in scaling up and then handing over the reins, as opposed to volunteering. This seems to avoid many of the usual trappings and I am interested to see what it is like on the ground. I have long been a vocal questioner of voluntourism so trying social enterprise instead will be an interesting experience. I really hope I can see a difference. As always, I will be sure to share the good, bad, and ugly, and look at everything with an analytical eye.
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How can you follow along?
There won’t be a tonne of Internet but I will still try to stay active as possible to keep you in the loop. It is going to be a really exciting time and I am bursting with energy to photograph, write about, and share the adventures. India is such a crazy adventure in itself, and with the added challenge of starting up a PLUS Pod, I am sure there will be *plenty* to talk about.
I will hopefully — hopefully — get a SIM card and keep stories updated on Instagram so you can follow along live. When I get more substantial access there will be blog posts and newsletters, too. So basically, keep following as normal, or even more because this will be an adventure unlike any other.
How can you help?
My fundraising page for the December trip is finally up and running. If you want to help donate to creating these educational facilities, that would make you an awesome A+ top person. All the funds go directly into the project (not towards my involvement) and will be used to help scale up 40K Globe.Everyone who donates goes into the running to win some funky Indian gifts!
If you want to help give affordable education to kids in rural India, feel free to donate to my campaign here https://40kgroup.raisely.com/lucyowens