Friday Feature: an interview with David Sokoloff

Posted by Jessica Elisberg | November 2, 2007

I've been thinking about adding a Friday Feature to the TPS blog, and I realized that there are a lot of people I meet in D.C. who are working on really interesting projects related to global issues. I thought it would be fun to interview some of them to find out more about the issues that interest them and why those issues should interest you!

To kick the series off, I talked with David Sokoloff, who is a master's student in International Development Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs (George Washington University). David is the founder of For Granted, a non-profit organization that works to provide educational materials to schools with limited resources.

David, tell me more about what For Granted does.

We collect educational materials from around the United States – mostly books that schools aren’t using anymore – and we send them to schools in developing countries. We focus on primary education and pre-school level, and we support schools that are in need of resources but don’t get attention from other aid programs.

 

Where are you sending the materials you collect?

We send materials to Kiribati (a small island nation on the equator in the Pacific Nation), India, and we are working on a new project in Dominica. We also recognize that there are a lot of kids here in the U.S. who don't have access to books, so we have sent materials to some programs in New York City.

Where did the idea come from to start For Granted?

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kiribati, where I taught math for over 2 years, and I met a group of women there who were really enthusiastic about improving their children's education, but didn't have the resources they needed. I realized that this was a need I could address, a problem I could actually have an impact on, so with the helps of some friends I created For Granted.

Your organization is focused on early education in developing countries. Why do you think this is an important issue for youth to be interested in?

Education opens the doors in your life. It creates real possibilities for the future, and without access to good education early on, a lot of kids don't make it through school and that limits their opportunities later on. Giving children the resources they need to succeed doesn't just make their own lives better – it improves the lives of their families, their villages, their countries, and the whole world.

For more information about the non-profit organization For Granted or to find out how you can get involved in their cause, visit their website at www.forgranted.org  

Submitted by Sarah Shier at: November 4, 2007
I absolutely agree with Mr. Sokoloff. This project is great because it takes books and other materials that would most likely end up without a use in the United States and uses them to educate those without other opportunities. I love this idea.
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