The Award

Building Education is thrilled to share that its Founder and CEO, Wendy Shew, is a recipient of the 2021 Top 100 Visionaries in Education Award, granted by the Global Forum for Education and Learning (GFEL), an organization dedicated to fostering intelligence and transforming education. Wendy is being recognized for her exemplary efforts in making education available, accessible, and sustainable in Nepal with the ultimate aim of breaking the cycle of poverty. 

Wendy has spent the last five years putting together a competent, committed, and caring team that shares in her humanitarian vision; developing an effective network of local and global strategic partners; scouting, evaluating, fundraising, budgeting, and managing projects remotely and also through frequent trips to the region; and balancing the immediate and basic needs of the local beneficiaries with the long term goals of the organization.

This award, in short, is very well deserved.


The Conference

Accepting the award and increasing the exposure of the organization to potential well-wishers, supporters and donors was one reason that prompted Wendy to attend a three-day conference, hosted by GFEL, that aimed to connect and empower some of the leading minds in the education field.

Building Education is founded on the idea of empowerment through education which also extends to their own team members. Professional development in order to further the impact of the BE organization was therefore the other reason that motivated Wendy and Andrew Ngin, Treasurer to participate in the Inclusive Learning and Special Education Track at the conference.

Wendy had the opportunity to moderate a panel discussing what investors look for in Education Entrepreneurs—a discussion critical to the maintenance and expansion of Building Education.

In addition to reiterating the importance of researching individual investors and donors, the key takeaways for the team were that investors and donors are essentially seeking:

  • Passionate and emotionally intelligent leaders
  • A thorough understanding of the problem and the solution
  • An established track record, clear implementation plans, and robust systems in place
  • Evidence of logic models and proven theories of change, and
  • Metrics that can demonstrate return on investment or accomplishment of targeted social outcomes

This learning, some new and some reinforced, will inform future plans and decisions of the executive team as they work towards the continued success of the BE mission.


Parting Thoughts

The conference highlighted the emerging trends of virtual reality and artificial intelligence in the field of education. While these advanced technologies seem beyond the reach of the work and resources in Nepal, small critical steps towards that grand vision are being taken by the BE organization through the foundational work of building school sites, of securing electricity in remote regions, and focusing on the physical well-being of the student. This conference and the presence of the BE team in the workshops and panels allowed for such underrepresented populations to, at the very least, be visible in the larger conversations about the future of education.