Stories empower. They can teach you how to cook, inspire you to travel, or learn a thing or two of another culture. But it doesn’t have to end there.
A social enterprise composed of a group of Vanderbilt University graduates is tapping the power of stories to boost education in the developing world. Their business model: funnel part of a book’s revenue to build schools, fund scholarships or provide school materials toward the community where the story originated.
The work of Teach Twice, as its name suggests, is twofold. It searches for stories in the field, publishes them, and then returns part of the sales back to the community. Each story helps to educate readers about a foreign community’s culture, its clothing, language or food.
With proceeds from its first book, “My Precious Name,” Teach Twice is funding the construction of a secondary school in Nakikungube, Uganda, where the story originated. It will allow children to stay closer to home instead of walking a fair amount of distance to school each day.
Teach Twice is handling the funds, but it has a partner to oversee the school’s construction. In the future, it plans on partnering with nongovernmental organizations to maximize social impact.
NGOs may share their stories, too. Teach Twice is working on an application form for those interested in submitting their stories for review. As is customary in the publishing industry, authors will get royalties for their books sold.
Teach Twice is awaiting nonprofit status to be able to accept grants from foundations. The plan, according to co-founder Trevor Burbank, is to make the business model sustainable — having more funds to channel into communities with enough funds left to publish a book.
Teach Twice has gathered some money from competitions and online fundraising. The organization was semi-finalist at the 2012 Dell Social Innovation Challenge. It was also able to raise some funds at Kickstarter, the online crowdfunding platform.
A number of new stories are already under way, Burbank says. One from South Africa, titled “Tall Enough,” will be published in two languages: English and Xhosa.
The story seems quite simple: A child who wants to grow up fast. But simple as it may be, this story, with the help of its publisher, has the power to change lives.
Read our previous #innov8aid.