Educational programs by teachers, for teachers
Elephant Thoughts enables teachers to create change, both in Canada and abroad. We are a registered Canadian charity, founded in 2002 by a group of teachers, principals and other professional educators.
We are many things: a new form of charity built on principles of self-reliance and self-sustenance, a source of educational programs in the classroom and beyond, and a force for sustainable change in education both in Canada’s First Nations and in the developing world.
First and foremost, we are teachers. Everything we do is done in a spirit of education, with the intention of creating sustainable change. We are determined to bring positive impact to the lives of students everywhere. If you’re a teacher and you’d like to get involved, let us know.
As a teacher-run organization, we mandate that 75% of our voting membership consist of teachers, either active or retired. This helps us leverage the expertise of hundreds of teachers and education professionals to create some of the most effective and innovative educational programs offered in any school, anywhere.
Elephant Thoughts currently works with schools in Ontario, in more than 100 First Nations and Inuit Communities across Canada, and in Tanzania, Nepal, and India. Elephant Thoughts also responds to major humanitarian issues including rebuilding schools after the earthquakes in China and Nepal, and sponsoring refugee families when necessary.
The Elephant Thoughts business model and why it works
A Registered Charity
A Leader in Educational Programs
How we fund our work
Most charities make their money by fundraising: they ask people to donate, and provide incentives to make donating more appealing. We have found a better way: we create real value.
We sell valuable interactive education services. We use the money generated to provide valuable education services to communities that simply can’t afford to pay for them. We also operate an educational toy store that turns a profit. All told, we generate revenue in over half a dozen distinct ways! Here are the main ones:
ET Toy Store
Workshops and School Programs
Special Events Programs
How we create change
In the Developing World
We also have a flagship program we have been developing since 2011 called the Sustainable Schools Model. It is being piloted in Igoma, Tanzania at the moment and was inspired by Timothy Lugejuna.
Timothy Lugejuna, Chairman/Director of Elephant Thoughts Tanzania, is a former principal who successfully brought change to Igoma Primary School in northern Tanzania. Timothy motivated community members to help implement school initiatives. Improvements such as beautification of school grounds and building additional classrooms corresponded with improved school ranking, moving Igoma from 165th place in the district in 2000 to 5th in 2006.
From simple school to community hub
The Sustainable Schools Model aims to take Timothy’s work a step further, incorporating the income generation programs that benefit both students and community. The idea is simple: we help schools meet their own needs by transforming them into community hubs. In this way, a school changes from a net cost to a net income earner, creating symbiosis and interdependence with the surrounding community.
We help schools in developing countries to become sustainable. We enable them to provide for their own basic needs and to achieve educational excellence. We mobilize communities to take a greater part in the long term success and well being of their schools.
First Nations & Inuit Communities
In Our Local Communities
Through initiatives like Watoto Learn, a program that enables children to explore and discuss issues of international sustainability, we teach children to become better global citizens.