Posted on Feb 26, 2017
Sam is a clever, qualified engineer who is focussed and passionate about supporting disadvantaged young people in Madagascar. Sam is the founder of Onja (translated as ‘waves’ in the Madagascar language of Malagasy),a non-profit organisation that teaches English and computer programming to Madagascar's high achieving, disadvantaged young people then offers them outsourcing work. Sam had previously volunteered as an English teacher in Cambodia five years ago and saw no employment opportunities for young people.  One year after this, Sam and two former students and Sam’s friends set up web sites for the international market. 
So why Madagascar? The country is twice the size of New Zealand with 22 million people with 92% of the population living in extreme poverty.  The country has low costs and good internet meaning it is reliable and affordable.  Sam lived in a rural Malagasy village for a year and now speaks Malagasy.  
Sam was motivated by the belief that Onja with its unique funding model can bring education and employment to the poorest communities on an extraordinary scale. It costs $300US year to study at secondary school with daily family earnings of 75cents so basic education is out of reach. Academically smart students are identified who can’t afford the education they need. The students study English and Computer Programming for two years living in a boarding school. The Graduates then work as software developers for seven years at Onja’s outsourcing agency and earn a good wage.  The work completed by a single graduate will generate enough income for Onja to educate a further seven students.
Sam’s been working on Onja for four years now pretty much using his own savings and now needs funding to kick off the first class of 30 students.  Onja has launched a crowd funding campaign with a target of $370kNZ to build a school, recruit teachers and cover student costs for the first year of education. 
Sam concluded by quoting Mahatma Gandhi ‘…be the change you want to see in the world’. Sam can be contacted at or +64223701234(NZ) for any further information