Change is difficult. Difficult to manage. Difficult to create. Difficult to embrace.
Every single one of us is challenged by change no matter where we live. With more than 3 billion search results for this term, it might just be the most discussed and challenging part of our existence. So if the change in question is the bold, demanding goal of changing a developing country for the better, where do we begin? With a catalyst, or in our case, catalysts.
There is no positive change in any field without a change agent. Successful change agents require not only great skills in leadership but entrepreneurial qualities such as vision and perseverance. To create the change we seek, we must create the change agents.
Thus in 2009, with the loftiest of goals and the deepest sense of humility, my wife Agnieszka and I established The Liger Charitable Foundation to support developing countries by investing in education, with specific focus on promoting two core themes: Leadership and Entrepreneurialism.
Our model takes a long-term approach to helping lesser developed countries to help themselves; in that sense we have a time horizon of at least 15 years for every young person in our program. It is predicated upon a belief that the most effective aid is in the form of investment that will allow the local populace to overcome social, political, and economic hurdles on their own. Additionally, our common-sense perspective is that those closest to a problem are also usually those who best understand that problem and are best able to solve it if enabled to do so.
For us, two things are clear. First, the change agents we seek to create must be members of that society, not outsiders. Second, effective change agents will not only produce positive changes to benefit their society but will also produce more change agents in the process.
Our model is to make targeted, long-term investments in human potential. Enabling promising individuals to achieve greatness within, or rather in spite of, the socio-economic constraints they face is the first step toward seeing meaningful, lasting progress in those places.
We understood from the beginning that our goal goes far beyond education in the traditional sense and thus with the Foundation’s first Liger Learning Center in Phnom Penh, we set out to create an effective and replicable development model for creating change agents who live and breathe the vision of improving their society’s fate, and who do all this in the context of pursuing their own hopes and dreams, driven by the motivation that provides.
We believe in sustainable aid and long-term investment. We believe in helping people help themselves. Most importantly, we believe that one empowered individual is capable of changing the world around them and we are now seeing truly incredible evidence of this every day. If you share these beliefs, you owe it to yourself to learn more about what we’re doing.