Study abroad launched the careers of Amanda Malamut ’10 and Caitlin McGee-Crane ’10—and an international movement to make quality education accessible in Equatorial Guinea, West Africa.
While volunteering in Malabo in 2008, the International Studies alumnae learned that students in Equatorial Guinea completed, on average, 4.2 years of elementary education, with nearly 40 percent dropping out of primary school. The cost of uniforms, supplies, and classroom resources inhibited many from continuing their studies.
As juniors, Malamut and McGee-Crane established Simply Equal Education (SEE), a nonprofit that ships supplies to six primary schools in Equatorial Guinea, improving retention rates and reducing costs for underserved students. Dedicated to broadening global perspectives, the duo also organizes interactive workshops, presentations, and service projects to help adolescents in the United States and Canada understand their roles as change agents.
“It’s not just a piece of paper or a pencil,” said McGee-Crane. “It’s about a student learning to write their name for the first time, or a kid being able to draw a picture to take home for their parents. Simply, an equal education for all.”
Since its inception 10 years ago, the organization has expanded to offer SEE Me Read, a nationwide read-a-thon that promotes global literacy; Change Your World, a challenge for students to pitch socially innovative ideas; and the Dear Friend program, which connects pen pals from North America and Equatorial Guinea to foster cultural appreciation.
“We were inspired to help children worldwide learn what it would be like to grow up in a developing country,” said Malamut. “We see a world where every individual, no matter their age or status, understands that they are capable of making a difference.”