Published by Inge Geerdens, on 24/05/2014
There are many people I admire, but 1 person in particular is a true inspiration for me, Arnoud Raskin. About 15 years ago, Arnoud started teaching street children in developing countries. His mobile schools, which I’ll explain later, are in the mean time present in twenty countries across the world. And despite the nonprofit focus of his company, Arnoud found a way to keep the project self-sufficient.
Of course Arnoud needed money when he first started with his mobile schools. So he asked the government for funding, collected charity, begged and borrowed. But not only did he find the ‘money rounds’ a real drag and waste of time, he also felt it was unfair. You can’t teach children they shouldn’t keep relying on charity, while doing that yourself.
So Arnoud came up with a plan for a hybrid enterprise, a novel example of social entrepreneurship. During his years travelling the world with his mobile schools, he learned a lot from the children he met. They taught him to focus on the positive, no matter how many setbacks you run into. They showed him how important it is to be agile, to react proactively and creatively to everything that comes on your path. And they also made him realize that at times you have to balance between competing and collaborating.
Since he felt that this knowledge made him a better person and a better manager, Arnoud decided to translate that new wisdom into coaching sessions with managers. Sessions the companies pay for, with money that is afterwards used to fund the mobile schools. During these inspirational sessions, Arnoud takes the managers to the streets. Literally: while working on an assignment related to their specialty, the street children are their clients for the day. Managers from Nike, for example, were assigned to make an educational tool for a mobile school that focuses on sports and movement as a way to discover self-worthiness.
I’ve rarely seen anyone as streetwise and committed as Arnoud Raskin. Top that of with the social impact of his enterprise and you can understand why I couldn’t wait to read StreetwiZe, the book he wrote with advice for managers, coaches and, well anybody. Unfortunately it is not yet available in English, but it soon will be.
Don’t you agree?
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