In the summer of 2010, Oglethorpe University partnered with Gray Matters Capital to take three OU alumni and seven other recent college graduates to Hyderabad, India. These young professionals are part of the IDEX Fellowship in Social Enterprise program and are using what they learned in the classroom in the real world. IDEX comes from IDeate, EXecute, and Solve—which is what these talented young people have put into action during the past six months.
The fellows are using social enterprise, a fairly new concept in the business world, to better India’s Affordable Private Schools. These fellows are not teachers, however. They are working on the business-end of the system to implement programs that can change and develop schools that primarily serve underprivileged youth in India.
One OU alumna, Ember Melcher ’09, decided to start an in-house library at the school in which she works. After noticing boxes of books collecting dust, she implemented a plan of action to advance a library, including working around financial barriers by “hiring” student workers in exchange for free tuition. Ember’s operation illustrates what IDEX is all about—tackling social problems with sustainable business models. The idea is that years after she and her colleagues are gone, the school can still operate an economical library within the school, using her business model as a foundation.
Beyond these fellows’ nine months in the country, IDEX plans to make a difference in years to come. In 2011, the program sent 40 new fellows to the country. View this video, produced by the IDEX Fellows, to learn more about the Fellowship and the work they’re doing:
Or, view directly on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXF7d4M2RTI&feature=player_embedded