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Global Ideas Institute


Our Madonna Team was fortunate to engage in a valuable, real-world problem-solving opportunity, participating in the Global Ideas Institute.  This is a collaborative program between the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs, the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, The Learning Partnership Canada, and the University of Toronto Schools.  We were challenged to find a solution to improve financial inclusion in India.  Through the year’s learning process we were provided with monthly lectures from experts, support from U of T mentors, supplementary resources (readings, videos, etc) and access to the university library for research.  The solution we developed was to launch a financial literacy program inviting trusted leaders from villages to learn at a local, familiar NGO.  They would learn important concepts like why it’s useful to have a bank account, how to get a micro-finance loan, etc. through popular education techniques such as comics, rhymes, and simulation games.  We chose this method to address those in rural villages who cannot read and write.  The leaders, would, in turn, return to their villages and teach the same curriculum.  By sharing the comics, rhymes, games, and success stories of others who were able to start micro-enterprises, people would want to use bank accounts.  Our proposal already built on the existing infrastructure (mobile banking, Bank-on-Wheels visiting villages once a week, and an ATM located at the closest town’s postal office, NGO, or small retailer).  Our program would be launched in the Chaibasa sub-district and expand to other neighbouring sub-districts in Jharkhand State, India.
At the recent Global Ideas Institute Symposium, on April 8th, at the University of Toronto, we presented our solution to a panel of expert judges and other school teams.  They seemed impressed with our proposal, especially our creative comics and rhymes with superhero, “Rupi”, and how our solution also promotes gender equity and financial literacy to the younger generation.
We developed skills such as; better understanding complex global issues and world current affairs, confidence in public speaking, being more analytic researchers and of course, knowing how to apply empathy when dealing with world issues.Overall, our experience was eye-opening, thought provoking and also a reminder that age is not a barrier when it comes to creating global change - as believers of the Catholic Social Teachings, this is our duty.


We’d like to sincerely thank those who supported us including our teacher supervisors, Ms. Celia Ieradi and Ms. Audrey Ferrer, as well as Ms. Diane Vautour from the 21st Century Learning team at the Board Office.  Many thanks goes to the whole Global Ideas Institute collaborating team that made this opportunity possible.