[10k/10Days Lighthouse Launch Update] Project Lighthouse will take millions to fund across the next 10 years, to raise the first 10,000 dollars. Sultan will be walking at least 250 km across 10 days starting 14th April. Donate today at Daily updates are restricted to his LinkedIn network- You can sponsor a Lighthouse here and connect with him on LinkedIn to see the updates.
“After I learned it all - to say all the right things at the right times - to be successful in my career and in material ways – I came to the profound realization that the ONLY THING that matters in this life is what you DO with your time on the planet, WHY you do it and the CHANGE you set in motion that will last well after you leave this planet. The time left on this planet is an opportunity to do the right thing - to build something that matters. That is my mission – to set change makers in motion, to build lighthouse that will shine on forever not needing any of our support once they are setup. The content of this page are written from my heart – don’t engage with it with just your mind but open your heart to the impact we can have together. There are too many boys and girls waiting for our collective action and now it’s time. This is my life’s work and I want to leave this planet with a hammer in my hand – building a library or helping a lighthouse shine their light. I am All-In. To date, we built 37 libraries in 10 countries (see videos here).
I sold my house and put all my money towards this cause to fund 95% of the builds in the last 4 years. That is how much I dislike fundraising, finding sponsors or diluting the mission in any way other than deep impact! This project will never become so big that it loses its identity – these youths will never become ‘numbers on a excel sheet or CSR report’ as I was one of them! – each story will be celebrated – each flame of potential will be converting into a bright light that illuminates their entire community. Each lighthouse youth is a long term commitment and accepted for a period to 2 to 5 years into the program with tremendous support to develop life skills, pay for a college/university/industry degree, develop language fluency and help them launch their own online business through which they can provide 21st century skills to the world.
Just good intentions are not enough to change lives - the world needs our tangible action. If this project inspires you - make sure you take action by sponsoring here before leaving the site.
I look forward to the day when we have 100 lighthouses shining across the world - our first lighthouse has now been in the program for 2 years. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life and now you can be a part of it. ” Sultan Akif, Executive Director and Founder, Library in a Week
What is Project Lighthouse?
Project Lighthouse is a ground-breaking, science and personal experience based project to breaking the cycle of generational poverty for 100 youths once and for all.
Set change makers in motions by helping 100 youths in the bottom 20% of the socio-economic ladder rise to become the top 20%. Each lighthouse makes a commitment to empower thousands in their communities thus driving sustainable change for generations.
The students selected for the Lighthouse Program are very special. In addition to academic performance, their leadership, work ethic and potential is observed in real life situations such as library builds and other initiatives. They are one in thousands that are using their hardship as a motivator to pursue their dreams. They posses the potential to be luminaries in their communities and are driven by purpose.
Across our library builds, we have come across several students who inspired us to envision this program. Now, we will be able to support them shine their light. The youths will be in the program from 2 to 5 years and it is a long term commitment given the effort it will take to build every single lighthouse. Each dimension of this program is based on:
Scientific Research: Sultan brings together some of the most senior leaders and ground breaking research in education each year through his conference. He is a governor, educator, founder of the largest youth employment event in Canada and his education includes prestigious institutes like Harvard Graduate School of Education).
Field Experience: We have built the largest youth employment event in Canada and saw first hand the challenges facing youths when transitioning to the workforce. In addition, Sultan has travelled to 75 countries in the world in some of the remotest and poorest parts of our planet.
It is Personal! The biggest insight is one that you cannot learn in books or arms length experiences - Sultan and many people in the team come from a poverty background. We understand how the world looks like when you are judged even before you have a chance to prove your potential or when you don't even have enough money for transformation to go for a job interview that you are well qualified for. This whole initiative is deeply personal and that is why it is truly empowering for all students who are involved. Each dimension of the lighthouse program address the very real challenges faced by the youths in poverty.
There are three focused outcomes of the program:
1) 21st Century Entrepreneurs: Lighthouses will have the skills, support and anything else they need to build an efficient online business to supply their newly acquired 21st century skills to a global audience and be in the position to employ local people eventually. We are not training them to stand at the back of a big line with a degree in hand. We are setting them up for success so the line is waiting for them.
2) Global and Free: Poverty can lead to poor youths taking life long jobs that can be considered modern day slavery involving endless work with little chance of progression. The lighthouse will be trained to develop the skills of the future and run businesses in which they supply these services to a global market. No one will be able to tell them to go stand in a line and they will truly be FREE to rise to this potential regardless of their gender, race, socio-status or any other limitations. They will be setup to empower others in the process.
3) Role Models & Community Leaders: Each lighthouse makes a commitment to dedicate their time and their resources when they are established in life to empower their local communities and other youths. The minimum goal for each lighthouse is to provide a life changing opportunity to at least 100 people in their lifetime but many will go on to impact thousands and hundreds of thousands. They are being trained to be real change makers and rise to power to empower others.
Five Dimensions of the Program
The following five dimensions provide the foundation that will empower youths to rise to their potential. Typically lighthouses will join the program at the end of grade 10 and will be enrolled in all dimensions so they can be supported all the way up to their university graduation. For older youths that have tremendous potential for impact, there is an opportunity to join the program at the end of grade 12 or at a later point in life if they could not pursue education. We will tailor the program participation based on their personal situation and potential.
Lighthouse Scholarship: We will provide a grant to cover all or part of the post-secondary education for the youth. This may include a university degree, college degree or industry certification.
Lighthouse Life Skills: Role models and long term positive interaction matter and that is the primary goal of this dimension. We are carefully selecting a few mentors out of hundreds of mentor applicants to provider long term support to the lighthouse. Imagine being surrounded by hardships but being mentored by a kind leader from one of the top organizations in the world who truly believes in you - is there to cheer you on and support you in finding your power. In addition to the mentor interaction, the curriculum of this dimension will focus on essential life skills needed to be successful in the career and in life.
Lighthouse English Curriculum: Youths will be fluent in written and spoken English so they can effectively communicate in the global market. This factor is a big roadblock to accessing online work opportunities for youths from poor families.
Lighthouse Business Incubator: This business incubator will help the lighthouse launch their global online business to provide products and or services to a global audience. A deep level of research and thought has gone into looking at 21st century in-demand skills, shifting landscape of the future of work and the constructs needed to empower a young person to be successful in their own global venture. Once established, their own business will empower the lighthouse to keep shining their light, employ others and drive an impact that is much bigger than their own transformation.
Lighthouse Community: The youths in the program will feel the full support of the light house community consisting of some of the most senior leaders in the corporate world, universities and communities. Above all - every mentor and tribe member is hand selected for this kindness, compassion and ability to empower others. All of the lighthouses will be meeting every months to share their experiences and encourage each other to keep going after their dreams. Our goal is to build a lighthouse family that will support each other for decades to come.
Progress to date
"1 lighthouse in progress, 99 more to go!
The original idea of this project came together two years ago when I met Dolma. I simply could not walk away from this very talented young person from a remote village in Nepal who was finishing her grade 10 studies but would not be able to pursue education as it required moving to the capital city. Thanks to the spontaneous support of two amazing friends (Shahzad & Marcelo), we were able to send Dolma to pursue her Grade 11 and 12 in a college in the city away from her village across the last two years. The transformation has been incredible! She is now graduating from grade 12 in June and will be starting university this fall.
The next three lighthouses are already identified. These are youths that I met during my 1st library build 4 years ago when they were in Grade 6. Now, they are about to graduate from Grade 10 and I will simply not let them discontinue their studies due to lack of finances. They have done everything they could to progress their education and we are not going to leave them behind.
You can play a tangible part by donating today to keep this mission going. If you would like to sponsor multiple students through corporate or personal funds reach out to me on LinkedIn for details." Sultan Akif, Executive Director, Library in a Week