Rebecca Weicht from Germany is OD Young Person of the Month for October 2019!
Welcome to October!
Our Young person of the Month is Rebecca Weicht from Germany! Rebecca Weicht is the Co-founder of Bantani Education, a non-profit that develops and supports creative and entrepreneurial learning policy and practice. Rebecca has worked with international organizations such as the European Commission and various national, regional governments, EU and national networks linked to education and economic development.
Rebecca is also an Associate Lecturer and researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School (UK) and currently a visiting researcher at Aarhus BSS (Denmark). She strongly believes in the power of education to provide opportunities for all and that it should prepare students not only for a job but for a life well lived.
Read her story below and be inspired!
Rebecca Weicht is Co-founder of a non-profit, Bantani Education, that develops and supports creative and entrepreneurial learning policy and practice. She strongly believes in the power of education to provide opportunities for all and to prepare students not only for a job but also for a life well lived. Her work is very much driven by beliefs and values. There are a couple of core values that Rebecca unwaveringly stands by one of which is social justice that is to say that we need fairness and equality in the world. She reminds herself often that purely because of where she was born she has been extremely privileged and that this means she has a duty to make the most of the opportunities she have been given.
Another core belief that Rebecca holds is that education is a means to achieve a more just world. She is also fundamentally a very curious person and has always enjoyed learning. Fortunately, her friend and brilliant Co-founder Elin McCallum holds pretty much the same values dearly and this is this how they came to Co-found Bantani Education.
With Bantani, they are working towards a change in the way they educate to ensure that learners today are given the skills to make the most out of opportunities – either opportunities they are offered or those they spot themselves. This is extremely necessary because unfortunately education systems still educate the same way as they did when they were invented, let alone as they did 150 years ago.
What they want is for everyone in compulsory education to go through an entrepreneurial experience to foster those skills that entrepreneurs often have, that everyone should be able to navigate the world today and lead a satisfying life. This includes having a vision, self-awareness, curiosity, creativity and practical competences like team work, communication and problem solving skills.
Rebecca and her Co-founder combine their skill sets in policy, training and development to work towards a system change in education. They work both with governments and international organisations on policy initiatives to achieve change from the top down through changes in teacher education, curricula and training, as well as supporting teachers in helping them develop their own entrepreneurial skills to start change in their own classroom through building communities, sharing expertise and much more.
On Her Successes
Rebecca Weitch is immensely proud that Bantani is growing bit by bit and that some amazing people work for and with them. She feels lucky to have been offered some amazing opportunities to grow herself and her business through fellowships such as the U.S. Department of State-sponsored YTILI fellowship among others.
Outside the organization, there is nothing that beats for her than having a conversation with engaged teachers. Bringing them together, capturing ideas and activities that teachers do in classrooms and giving them a platform to share these so that an idea from Spain can be picked up in Ukraine and vice versa.
The entire premise of their work is a big project – to make education fit for the 21st century and beyond. They have their work cut out for them. For their future plans, they will continue to focus on connecting educators, providing (free) training (materials) and growing a community of like-minded change makers.
Bootstrapping a non-profit is a continuous challenge. For them, it means continuous engagement with partners and educators coupled with slow growth. The work they do, they believe, is too important to fall into a scaling trap, fly high but then burn up and crash. Sustainability and impact are the name of the game.