The Global Fund for Children Founder to Lecture at Cedar Crest College on Nov. 10
Allentown, Pa. (Oct. 24, 2011)—As founder of The Global Fund for Children (GFC), Maya Ajmera’s work has touched the lives of more than 1.5 million children. Hear what inspired Ajmera’s efforts and how to turn passion into a career of social entrepreneurship and public service during The 2011 William D. Reimert Lecture titled, “On a Mission: Saving Our Children,” on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. The free program will be held in Samuels Theatre, and a book signing will follow.
At age 25, Ajmera launched GFC—an international, non-profit organization that invests in innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. To date, GFC has awarded more than $21 million in grants to these organizations in 76 countries.
Ajmera has been on a journey she never expected before traveling abroad on a Rotary Club Fellowship as a freshly minted college graduate. Until that point, her plan was to study to become a doctor.
Among the stories the highly sought after lecturer will share with the Reimert audience is that fateful day on a bustling train platform in Bhubaneswar, India, more than two decades ago when she was struck by the life-altering thought: How do I get small amounts of capital directly into the hands of the most worthy community-based groups making an enormous impact in the lives of children around the world?
“What amazed me was the extraordinary strength, resilience and ability for children to survive in some of most chaotic and crazy circumstances. Children have the right to be educated, to be safe and protected, to be healthy, and to have opportunities for a great future,” she said. “Inexperience was my best asset in terms of starting a global organization at the age of 25. I wasn’t intimidated by the audacious goal, because I didn’t have the experience of knowing how ambitious or complicated it was going to be.”
GFC also has a dynamic media program focused on children’s books, films, digital media, and documentary photography. Ajmera is an award-winning author of children’s books including Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, Faith, and To Be a Kid with over 2 million readers worldwide. The organization also supports documentary filmmakers that portray the resilience of young people, raise awareness of the issues confronting them, and provide a connection to grassroots organizations that directly address the challenges identified in the films, as well as literacy programs for at-risk children.
Ajmera is a recipient of numerous leadership awards including the 2011 Henry Crown Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, and she is sought after nationally and internationally to address audiences on local and global philanthropy, global children’s rights, international development, and social entrepreneurship. Her work and life story have been profiled by such media outlets as CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Financial Times, NPR, and many others.
Ajmera serves on the board of visitors of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She is vice chairman of the board of Echoing Green, a trustee of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, and a board member of New Global Citizens. She serves on numerous advisory boards including the Center for Advanced Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, American India Foundation, and many others.
She received a master’s degree in public policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bryn Mawr College. She credits her women’s college education as an undergraduate with providing her with the foundation for success.
“I got an incredible grounding and a fantastic liberal arts education. I’m a big proponent of a women’s college education and I think Bryn Mawr and Cedar Crest and Wellesley and Sweet Briar (colleges)…there are only a handful of women’s colleges left. To be able to give this lecture and meet women who are aspirational and inspirational is a great honor for me,” said Ajmera.
Registration is required. Call 610-740-3791 or go to www.cedarcrest.edu/lecture to register or for more information.
###Last Updated: 10/12/11