A new life in Nepal

Ramya Madhavan was part of the first cohort to graduate from the Teach For Australia Leadership Development Program. Ramya was placed at Mill Park Secondary College during the program and taught middle years Maths and Science subjects. Ramya is currently the Global Education Director at Street Child, an international organisation that aims to enable access to education for children in crisis- and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia.

After Teach for Australia

Following the Leadership Development Program, Ramya worked with Teach For Australia as a Support Manager, and went on to complete a Masters in Teaching and International Education Policy. In her second year with the organisation, she was seconded to Teach For India to design and develop their social entrepreneurship and engagement strategies. She went on to work with a range of organisations as an education consultant in Bangladesh, Colombia, India, Sierra Leone and Turkey, enabling her to experience education programs spanning the spectrum from strategy, planning and implementation, to impact assessment.

Transitioning to Education in Emergencies

In 2015, Ramya returned to Melbourne to pursue a PhD whilst working on the education team at Social Ventures Australia. As she prepared for her research in Mumbai, India, an organisation she had worked with in Africa known as Street Child offered an opportunity to lead its expansion into Asia and establish operations and programs in response to the recent earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal.

So in 2016, Ramya travelled between Mumbai and Kathmandu, pursuing her research whilst delivering an Education in Emergencies response that included construction of hundreds of classrooms; training and coaching thousands of teachers and education authorities; and enabling access to emergency education materials for tens of thousands of children in affected areas. Learning to adapt and adopt educational principles and programs to a crisis context was a transformational experience.

Learning for All

In 2017, Ramya was appointed Global Director of Education at Street Child, with a portfolio including programs in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Nepal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka, amongst others. She spends her time travelling from country to country to support the teams on the ground. Each of these contexts offers specific challenges: from creating community-centred avenues of access to education in conflict-affected areas of Afghanistan for returned refugees from Pakistan; to supporting children from lower caste communities to transition into education and employment in remote, hard-to-reach areas of Nepal; to driving the development of a National Curriculum for Education in Emergencies in Nigeria. Education in Emergencies is life-saving and life-sustaining. It offers children and communities a safe, secure and stable space to increase their resilience to crisis and conflict, and to learn in a way that will support and sustain them across their lifetime. The Teach For Australia ideal of an excellent education for all children continues to compel Ramya, and her experiences in the Australian classroom continue to inspire and influence her work in crisis- and conflict-affected contexts across the globe.

*Since 2008, Street Child has helped over 100,000 children to go to school, and supported over 15,000 families to set up businesses so they can afford the cost of educating their children.

This story was originally published in Stories From Our Community (Winter 2018)View the entire magazine online here.

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